Latest News 2012 February Hip Replacement Manufacturer Sued for Failed System

Hip Replacement Manufacturer Sued for Failed System

As reported in Yahoo News, a man whose implanted hip device suddenly fractured as he dressed for work, resulting in excruciating pain and emergency surgery, has filed a lawsuit naming both Wright Medical Technology, Inc. and Wright Medical Group for negligence.

Attorneys Stephen Leshner and Joseph Saunders represent the victim, D.P., of Phoenix.

D.P. had the Wright ProFemur Total Hip System implanted in June 2005. Of the three components implanted – a femoral head, modular neck and a femoral stem – the section that fractured was the modular neck.

In 2005 the modular neck was made with titanium alloy, it is now made with a different material: cobalt chrome alloy.

Leshner explained, “There is a design defect in the femoral implant that causes it to fracture just below the neck. When it fractures, you’re on the floor, in extreme pain and you have to have emergency surgery immediately.”

There are nine counts in all in the complaint. The charges include: negligence, design defect, manufacturing defect, failure to warn and fraudulent misrepresentation. The suit is seeking unspecified general, special and punitive damages.

D.P. added, “One minute I’m standing there getting dressed for work and the next I’m on the ground. At first I thought there was an earthquake that knocked me down, but then the pain hit and I couldn’t move my leg.”

Following the sudden fracture D.P. had to have a revision surgery on July 7, 2011 at the Chandler Regional Medical Center. According to the complaint, surgeons removed “fractured fragments of the ProFemur Z titanium modular femoral neck.” Also detected during the surgical procedure was “some mild corrosion” where the fracture had occurred.

The complaint reads, “…studies have shown that modular neck adapters made from titanium alloy, such as the ProFemur modular neck adapter…are more likely to suffer fretting corrosion and fatigue fracture than those made from cobalt-chromium.”

The Wright ProFemur Z femoral stem has a high failure rate – 11.2 percent of all patients that had that particular brand of implant needed to have revision surgery. The information is based on a report by the Australian Orthopaedic Association that was done in 2009.

Also in 2009, ProFemur switched over from using titanium to cobalt chrome alloy. However, per the complaint, “no corrective action in the form of a recall or even an announcement of warning to the medical community or to the public at large concerning its decision to switch from titanium modular neck adapters to cobalt chrome adapters” was made by ProFemur.

The complaint continued, “At all relevant times, Defendants knew, or should have known, that the Device which included a titanium modular femoral neck was more prone to fatigue fracture and failure than a device made with a cobalt chromium modular neck.”

There are expectations of more ProFemur lawsuits due to other patients experiencing similar injuries.

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