Hip replacements are one of the most common surgeries in the United States today. For years, hip replacement implants were made of plastic or ceramic, but a “longer-lasting, more durable” alternative gained popularity over the past decade. All-metal hip implants were hailed as having a lower failure rate and a reduced need for replacement surgeries. But these claims soon proved to be false.
When the chromium and cobalt components of all-metal hip implants rub together over time, bits of metal debris can be released into the blood stream and surrounding tissue. This debris can lead to inflammation, bone deterioration, tissue damage, and a type of blood poisoning called metallosis.
What is the Statue of Limitations?
In Massachusetts, as in other states, the Statute of Limitations sets a time limit on bringing lawsuits against an individual or entity who has caused you harm. Once that time limit has expired, the injured party can no longer file a claim in MA. The statute of limitations varies based on the type of incident and the circumstances involved. In certain cases, a person may be unaware of an injury for an extended period. Faulty hip implants are a good example of such a situation.
Johnson & Johnson, for example, has argued that the statute of limitations should have begun when they recalled their defective DePuy ASR hip implant in 2010. Given a two-year statute of limitations, patients would have had to file their claims by 2012 in order to recover damages. However, many patients who received DePuy hip implants in 2010 didn’t discover their injury for several years. A Boston defective medical device attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a faulty or defective medical product.
The Discovery Rule
Fortunately, MA imposes the discovery rule in certain situations. The “discovery rule” holds that
the statute of limitations does not begin until the claimant knew or should have known that he was injured and that the injury was caused by another’s negligence. As such, an individual who is only now determining that a) she is injured, and b) the injury was caused by DePuy’s negligence, may still be able to file a lawsuit for injuries caused by a hip implant that was recalled in 2010.
Symptoms of Hip Implant Failure
If you have received an all-metal hip implant, it may be in your best interest to speak to your doctor about the risks. In the meantime, if you develop any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
Signs of metal poisoning may include:
Problems with the nervous system
Behavioral or emotional changes
Signs of bone deterioration or tissue damage may include:
- Swelling around the site
- Extreme pain
- Difficulty walking
- High fever
As many as 93,000 patients may have received DePuy’s ASR hip implant before the device was recalled. Unfortunately, J&J failed to keep adequate records and was unable to notify each person of the recall. As such, the number of lawsuits continues to rise. A MA injury attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by the negligence of a medical device manufacturer. Continue reading