Arizona woman files medical device lawsuit over hip implant

Arizona woman files medical device lawsuit over hip implantAn Arizona woman recently filed a defective medical device lawsuit, claiming her Wright Profemur hip implant system failed.

In the lawsuit, Mesa resident Virginia M. Welch claims that her hip implant failed and had to be removed after only three years.

According to the lawsuit, Welch received the implant in 2006 and after experiencing pain had the device evaluated. That evaluation allegedly led to the discovery of a loosened acetabular cup, which appeared to have rotated a significant amount from its orginal position.

"According to 2009 data reported by the Australian Orthopaedic Association, Wright Profemur stems demonstrated an 11.2 percent failure rate at three years following the surgery to implant them," Welch's injury attorney said. "This means more than one in every nine patients who received the Wright implants experienced serious problems within only a few years of their hip replacement surgery."

The Wright Profemur system is hardly the only hip implant system that has been alleged in lawsuits to be defective. The DePuy hip replacement – which is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson – has been one of the most commonly spotted pieces of equipment in defective medical device lawsuits.

Last year, Johnson & Johnson recalled over 90,000 of the devices due to a high rate of repeat surgeries that were needed by those who were implanted with the device.

An analysis of data conducted by the New York Times led to the discovery of 5,000 complaints from January to August 2011 of metal-on-metal hip replacement devices. According to the news provider, the majority of such reports involved people with the devices having them removed.

The most commonly complained-about device in the analysis was Johnson & Johnson's Articular Surface Replacement, which accounted for about 75 percent of the reports.

Some of the complaints about the metal-on-metal devices involve allegations that metal chips off and gets into the bloodstream, which can have serious health consequences.

According to the Times, experts believe that the metal-on-metal implants could be the biggest medical device issue since Medtronic had to recall a widely used heart implant component in 2007.

As for Welch, the Arizona woman, her injury attorney claims that her Wright Profemur was defective.

"The Wright implant was defectively designed and manufactured, and the company failed to adequately warn consumers of potential defects and risks associated with it," the medical device lawyer contends. "The result is that some patients suffered needless pain and injury, and will require revision surgeries to replace the defective implants."