Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

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

Difficulty hearing

Skin rash

Vision problems

Heart problems

Behavioral or emotional changes

Thyroid problems

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

Women may develop medical conditions such as urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse due to age, childbirth, or after having a hysterectomy. These conditions may cause the pelvic organs to slip into the vaginal canal, resulting in discomfort and other medical complications. Many of these women will undergo a surgical procedure using transvaginal mesh to correct the problem. Unfortunately, transvaginal mesh is linked to serious pain and a long list of medical complications.

What is Transvaginal Mesh?

Made from a synthetic substance called polypropylene, transvaginal mesh is a small, net-like device that is surgically implanted into the vagina to hold pelvic organs in place. This type of mesh was first used to treat hernias, beginning in the 1950s. It was approved by the FDA to treat pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence in 1996. However, the FDA did not require that manufacturers conduct safety studies on humans prior to the device’s release. Further, many transvaginal mesh products were modeled after a device called the ProtoGen Sling, which  was recalled due to high erosion rates in 1999.

Transvaginal Mesh Complications

In 2011, the FDA reported that it had received 4,000 adverse event reports linked to transvaginal mesh products. Despite the many complications, surgeries to implant transvaginal mesh continue with shocking frequency. The following complications are associated with mesh products:

  • Erosion of the mesh itself
  • Erosion of surrounding vaginal tissue
  • Severe pain in the pelvic area
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Perforation of surrounding organs, including the bladder and bowel
  • Perforation of blood vessels
  • Scarring
  • Fistulas
  • The need for revision surgery

Transvaginal mesh is intended to remain in the body permanently. As such, revision surgeries can be exceptionally difficult. In layman’s terms, they can be costly and quite painful. In many cases, the mesh has to be removed in pieces, and the revision surgery often has to be performed by a specialized doctor. A Boston defective medical products attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by transvaginal mesh or a similar device.

Transvaginal Mesh Implants “Cannot be Recommended”

According to a report published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, more than 15 percent of patients who have been implanted with transvaginal mesh have suffered from severe pain and infections due to tissue erosion. The article’s authors write that: “Surgeons should be aware of the potential complications of synthetic meshes. Until data on the safety and efficacy of the intravaginal slingplasties are available, these procedures cannot be recommended.”

Talk to Your Doctor

If you are considering getting a transvaginal mesh implant, it is in your best interest to speak with your health care provider about the risks. If you currently have a transvaginal mesh implant and are experiencing side effects, such as bleeding or pain, seek immediate medical attention. A MA defective medical device attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by any type of mesh device. Continue reading

Every year in the United States, thousands of patients undergo hip replacement surgery to treat severe hip arthritis and other degenerative conditions affecting the hip joint. Hip replacement surgeries are generally a last resort option, after non-surgical treatments have failed to help. These patients are typically in serious pain, and unable to perform basic daily activities. The hip replacement is supposed to help them get their lives back. Unfortunately, that’s not always the outcome.

In addition to relieving pain and improving mobility, hip implants are supposed to last the rest of the patient’s life. Hip replacement surgery is complicated and painful; nobody wants to go through it multiple times. Although hip replacement surgeries have been performed for decades, the hip implants themselves have gone through quite an evolution. In recent years, ceramic and plastic models have been “upgraded” to all-metal devices that were originally hailed for being more durable and providing greater range of motion.

It is common for patients to want the newest model when it comes to surgical implants, and hip implants are no exception. As such, tens of thousands of patients have been implanted with all-metal hip implants in the last decade. But shortly after all-metal hip replacement surgeries skyrocketed, claims of serious complications began flooding in. A MA defective medical products attorney can help you determine how to move forward if you’ve been injured by an all-metal hip implant, or any other medical device.

Complications Linked to All-Metal Hip Implants

All-metal hip implants are designed with a ball and socket, both of which are made of metal. Unfortunately, when the ball and socket rub together, the metal-on-metal contact results in friction that can release metal debris into the patient’s blood stream and surrounding tissue. This metal debris can become toxic in the bloodstream and cause the surrounding tissues to become irritated and inflamed, a condition called Metallosis. If left untreated, Metallosis can be fatal. In addition, these metal particles can cause an immune reaction in the body, leading to soft-tissue damage and bone deterioration around the joint.

If you have an all-metal hip implant, it is in your best interest to visit your doctor regularly for routine evaluations of the implant and your hip joint. If it is determined that your hip implant is causing problems or has failed, you may require a revision surgery to remove and replace the implant. A Boston defective medical products attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been harmed by any type of medical device.

Symptoms of All-Metal Hip Implant Complications

If you have an all-metal hip implant, seek medical attention if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain in the hip, groin, or leg
  • Difficulty walking
  • Swelling or inflammation around the hip joint
  • Infection
  • Feelings of malaise
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Skin rash

The above symptoms may signal a problem with your implant, including loosening of the implant, fracture or deterioration of the surrounding bone, misalignment of the ball and socket, or blood poisoning / tissue inflammation from metal debris. Continue reading

Hernia mesh is a flexible mesh product used to repair abdominal hernias. The mesh device is implanted over the weakened area, creating a barrier that prevents internal organs from pushing through. All types of hernia mesh are associated with medical complications, but Ethicon Physiomesh has a particularly bad record. Failure rates are high, resulting in the need for revision surgeries at best, or life-threatening health complications at worst.

When new medical devices that are similar to existing medical devices enter the market, they often receive FDA approval through a fast-track approval process called 510(k). Basically, this means that the device’s manufacturer must demonstrate only that the new device is a substantial equivalent to a previously approved device. As such, rigorous safety testing and research goes by the wayside in favor of getting the product to market as fast as possible. A Boston defective medical device lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by hernia mesh.

Ethicon Physiomesh is manufactured by corporate giant Johnson & Johnson. J&J was named the largest healthcare company on the planet at the 2016 World Economic Forum. With such a large share of the global healthcare market, J&J should be more diligent about safety testing its products. And hernia mesh is far its only dangerous product. With J&J’s baby powder being linked to ovarian cancer in women, Risperdal being linked to breast development in adolescent men, and Xarelto causing excessive bleeding in patients, J&J is at the center of lawsuits totaling in the hundreds-of-millions.

Medical Complications Linked to Physiomesh

All types of hernia mesh carry the risk of complications, but the material used to make Physiomesh is especially dangerous. If you have a hernia mesh implant, talk to your doctor about the risk of the following:

  • Mesh erosion
  • Organ perforation
  • Infection, including gangrene and sepsis
  • Bowel adhesions
  • Wounds that won’t heal
  • Allergic reactions
  • Severe pain
  • The need for revision surgery
  • Death

Ethicon Physiomesh is made with a lightweight plastic called polypropylene. Multiple clinical studies have show that polypropylene decays when implanted in a human body. In addition to the breakdown of the mesh itself, the device can migrate, puncturing or perforating surrounding tissue and organs. This migration can result in internal bleeding and life-threatening infections. A MA injury attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a hernia mesh device.

Recent Updates

  • On October 3, 2017 the Supreme Court rejected J&J’s request to overturn a $3.27 million verdict.
  • In September 2017, J&J was ordered to pay $57.1 million in a mesh injury case in Pennsylvania.
  • On Sepember 26, 2017, Alex Neil, a former Health Secretary of Scotland, called the injuries caused by pelvic mesh a “worldwide catastrophe,” and requested an International Summit to address this problem.
  • On May 1, 2017 a New Jersey woman received a $20 million verdict against J&J for injuries caused by a vaginal mesh device (similar product).

Continue reading

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been awarded to plaintiffs who have suffered injuries from using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products. Although the company has continued to defend the safety of its products, research has shown that talc-based products can dramatically increase the risk of ovarian cancer when used for feminine hygiene purposes.

Last week, J&J finally got its way, when one of the multi-million dollar verdicts was reversed. But women who have suffered talcum powder-related injuries should not be discouraged; the reversal had nothing to do with the merit of the case. It had only to do with where the case was tried. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to a defective or dangerous product.

The family of Jacqueline Fox, an Alabama woman who died in 2015 from ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder for upwards of 35 years, was awarded $72 million in 2016. Although Fox lived in Alabama, her family’s lawsuit joined with dozens of others in the state of Missouri, as part of Multi-district Litigation (MDL) intended to expedite the process.

Out-of-State Restrictions

In a case involving Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in June 2017 that courts only have jurisdiction over an out-of-state claim if there exists an “affiliation between the forum and the underlying controversy, principally, [an] activity or an occurrence that takes place in the forum State.” Basically, this means that for a personal injury case to be tried in a particular state, the injury had to have occurred in that state, or the company being sued must be headquartered in that state.

J&J used this June ruling to their advantage, appealing the Fox family’s verdict based on the Supreme Court’s determination. Judge Lisa Van Amburg overturned the ruling, saying that: “The fact that resident plaintiffs sustained similar injuries does not support specific jurisdiction as to non-resident claims.” The bottom line is, the case should never have been tried in Missouri. As a result, the judgment has been reversed and vacated. Fox died four months before the trial began. Only two of the plaintiffs in the 65-person lawsuit with Fox were residents of Missouri.

Fox’s family is likely to appeal the decision. Continue reading

Xarelto is an anticoagulant (blood thinner) used to treat certain medical conditions, such as atrial fibrillation, stroke, and deep vein thrombosis. Although this drug and others in its class are quite effective, they carry the risk of serious side effects, some which can be life-threatening. As a result, Xarelto manufacturers, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, are facing thousands of lawsuits.

All anticoagulants can cause excessive bleeding, and Xarelto is no exception. The difference between Xarelto and its predecessor Coumadin, however, is that Coumadin has an antidote to stop this bleeding. No such antidote exists for Xarelto. As a result, several hundred deaths have been linked to this dangerous drug. Despite the risk of fatal hemorrhaging, Xarelto has surpassed its competitors, racking up more than $1 billion in sales.

More than 18,000 Lawsuits Filed

As of September 2017, nearly 18,000 lawsuits have been filed against Bayer and Johnson & Johnson. These cases have been consolidated into Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in Louisiana, and are currently in discovery. The injuries range in severity from minor injury to death. As such, there will probably be multiple tiers of settlements. Based on past MDL cases with similar injuries and recent settlements paid by Bayer and J&J in Yaz cases (another of the manufacturers’ dangerous drugs), the majority of the settlements will likely range from $100,000 to $300,000. Of course, they could be much higher or much lower, depending on various factors. A Boston drug injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been harmed by Xarelto or another dangerous drug.

Symptoms of Excessive Bleeding

Xarelto is linked to many side effects; some are minor and some can be life-threatening. Common minor side effects include back pain, leg weakness, and bladder problems. If you develop any side effects, it’s a good idea to consult with your physician. However, symptoms of excessive bleeding are of special concern. If you develop any of the symptoms below, seek immediate medical attention. You may be suffering from internal bleeding.

  • Chronic nose bleed
  • Bleeding of the gums
  • Urine that is brown, red, or pink
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Black or red stool
  • Unusually-heavy vaginal or menstrual bleeding
  • Coughing up blood
  • Severe headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling weak
  • Vomiting blood, or vomit that looks like coffee grounds

As with many drugs that are similar to drugs already on the market, Xarelto was approved by the FDA following a fast-track approval process. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies are often so eager to get an exciting, new drug on the shelves that they don’t allow enough time for adequate safety testing.The lawsuits allege that Xarelto manufacturers failed to warn patients of the risks associated with their drug. A prominently-placed warning label or package insert would have allowed patients and doctors to weigh their options and choose an alternative if they so desired.

And it’s not just excessive bleeding that can be life threatening. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery revealed that patients taking Xarelto after hip or knee surgery have nearly four times the risk of wound complications than those taking Heparin. A MA drug injury lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured by a dangerous Continue reading

Invokana is a prescription medication used to control blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. The drug works with the kidneys to eliminate excess blood sugar through the passing of urine. Although effective at reducing glucose from the bloodstream, Invokana has been linked to several life-threatening medical conditions. As such, the drug’s manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceutical, is facing an onslaught of product liability lawsuits, alleging that the company knew about the risk of health complications and failed to adequately warn the public.

Invokana is linked to multiple side effects, but the most serious are kidney failure and a condition called ketoacidosis. A potentially-deadly complication that can cause the brain to swell, ketoacidosis occurs when there is a buildup of toxic acids – called ketones – in the bloodstream. Despite all of these risks, Janssen Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, netted nearly $1 billion in profits from Invokana last year.

Invokana Lawsuits Consolidated in NJ Federal Court

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) transferred nearly 100 Invokana lawsuits from throughout the country to New Jersey federal court. New Jersey was selected because Janssen Pharmaceuticals is headquartered in that state. There were also 37 cases already filed in NJ. A Boston drug injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous drug

Lawsuits allege that Invokana caused ketoacidosis and kidney damage, as well as blood clots, strokes, and other cardiovascular problems. Although the FDA approved the drug in 2013, the risk of ketoacidosis wasn’t added to the warning label until 2015. Unfortunately, the warning came too late for some. And even now, with the updated warning label, Invokana continues to harm patients. In 2015, the FDA issued a warning that the drug could turn mild urinary tract infections into potentially-fatal infections of the blood and kidneys. And in 2016, the FDA warned that Invokana may cause acute pancreatitis.

Invokana lawsuits have been piling up for several years now. One of those lawsuits (Maddox v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals), alleges that Invokana patients “have suffered and may continue to suffer severe and permanent personal injuries, including diabetic ketoacidosis, stroke, heart attack, and severe kidney damage.” A MA drug injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous drug.

Symptoms of Ketoacidosis

If you are currently taking Invokana, it may be wise to learn the symptoms of ketoacidosis. Left untreated, this condition can be fatal. If you develop any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately:

  • Breathing problems
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Chronic headache
  • Fruity breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Flushed face
  • Confusion
  • Pain in the abdomen

If you are taking Invokana, or have taken the drug in the past, consider talking to your physician about potential risks. When it comes to such serious side effects, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Continue reading

In May 2017, Teva Pharmaceuticals initiated a recall of its schizophrenia drug, Paliperidone. According to a report released by the pharmaceutical company, the drug may not be dissolving properly, which could lead to less-than-sufficient levels of the medication being absorbed by the patient’s body. The potential hazards of such a defect are actually quite serious. If a patient with schizophrenia fails to maintain therapeutic levels of Paliperidone in their system, life-threatening complications can result.

According to a recent report in Medscape Medical News, Paliperidone’s dissolution problem may “reduce effectiveness in treating a patient’s mental and/or mood symptoms including suicidal thoughts and behavior, self-injurious behavior, mental hospitalizations, assaults, and aggressive behavior, as well as vocal and motor tics.” A Boston drug injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a dangerous or defective drug.

Dangerous drug defects are shockingly common. Prescription medications are regularly in the news and at the center of lawsuits for dangerous side effects ranging from compulsive gambling to death. Although manufacturers have a duty to perform adequate testing before releasing these drugs onto the market, multiple loopholes exist to allow for fast-track approval processes that may fail to detect life-threatening side effects. For example, if a prescription drug is similar to an existing drug, testing requirements may be waived through one of the FDA’s expedited approval programs. As such, defects often go undetected until multiple patients have reported complications. And in far too many cases it’s too late for these patients.

Dangerous Drugs

There are dozens of dangerous prescription drugs still on the market today. Drugs linked to the most serious side effects include:

  • Abilify: An antipsychotic used to treat multiple mood disorders, Abilify is linked to compulsive eating, shopping, and gambling, hyper-sexuality, and other serious complications.
  • Cipro: This frequently-prescribed antibiotic and other drugs in the fluoroquinolone class are linked to life-threatening side effects, including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and peripheral neuropathy (a form of nerve damage)
  • Xarelto, Pradaxa, and Eliquis: These blood thinners were hailed as a low-maintenance alternative to their only predecessor, warfarin. Unfortunately, excessive bleeding is a side effect of all blood thinners, and these drugs don’t have an antidote to stop that bleeding.
  • Invokana: Proven to lower blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, Invokana is linked to several life-threatening side effects, including kidney failure, heart attack, and a condition called ketoacidosis (the buildup of toxic acids in the bloodstream).
  • Risperdal: This drug is prescribed to young men and boys who suffer from bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. Although effective at treating these disorders, Risperdal has a particularly-disturbing side effect; male patients have developed breasts while using the drug. In addition to being painful, this condition, called gynecomastia, can be emotionally traumatizing for young men.
  • Zofran: An anti-nausea medication originally marketed to chemotherapy patients, Zofran quickly became popular as a way to prevent nausea and morning sickness in pregnant women. Unfortunately, the drug – which has been prescribed to countless pregnant women without FDA approval – is now linked to multiple birth defects.

A MA drug injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous drug. Continue reading

A hospitalized woman who claims that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder caused her ovarian cancer was awarded a record $417 million on Monday. The lawsuit alleges that when used for feminine hygiene, talc particles in the baby powder can enter the vagina and embed in the ovaries, leading to irritation, inflammation and – potentially – this especially-aggressive type of cancer.

The lawsuit brought by Eva Echeverria is the highest award in a string of talcum powder verdicts  across the nation over the last few years. Echeverria claims to have used the baby powder daily for more than 50 years, until she received the ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2007. According to her lawsuit, the cancer was a direct result “of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder.” A MA product liability attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a talc-based product.

The $417 million award consisted of $340 million in punitive damages and $68 million in compensatory damages. Included in the evidence presented in the case were multiple internal documents showing that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the risks associated with its baby powder but continued to market the product anyway. According to Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich, the company plans to appeal the verdict because scientific research supports the product’s safety.

“We are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,” wrote Goodrich in a statement. “In April, the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query Editorial Board wrote, ‘The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.’ We are preparing for additional trials in the U.S., and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

Talc is a mineral that is often mined alongside asbestos, another well-known carcinogen. In fact, asbestos was found in some talc-based powders in the past. But does talcum powder actually cause cancer? According to Dr. Daniel Cramer, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the answer is yes. “Overall, women may increase their risk in general by about 33 percent by using talc in their hygiene,” said Cramer.

When women put talcum powder in their underwear for feminine hygiene purposes, talc particles may travel through the fallopian tubes to the ovaries, where they embed, causing irritation and inflammation which can lead to cancer over time. A Boston product liability attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by talcum powder or another dangerous product. Continue reading

Metal-on-metal hip implants were hailed as a superior alternative to their plastic and ceramic counterparts. Unfortunately, they are increasingly associated with serious medical complications, including the risk of blood poisoning. Read on for more information about metal hip implants and what to do if you’ve been injured by one of these defective medical devices.

Many metal hip implants are made of chromium-cobalt, a carcinogenic substance. When the metal components of the implant grind together through normal wear and tear, particles of chromium and cobalt can be released into the body. If the toxic substances enter the bloodstream, the results can be fatal. In addition to the risk of blood poisoning, the grinding of metal parts may also create metal debris. The shedding of this debris can lead to inflammation, extreme pain, bone deterioration, pseudo-tumors, and the need for revision surgery.

What Hip Implant Models are Dangerous?

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