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Individuals seek treatment through hip implants for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons people install hip implants is due to severe arthritis that leads to transplant surgery. Hip implants are not a completely new development. However, issues have recently begun to arise concerning the metal hip replacements, which thousands of people are using to this day.
There are a number of different techniques of surgery and different types of implants available in the market that can be used for the purpose. One such design for hip implants is metal on metal. These are supposed to be more durable, stable and trouble-free than the other types of implants, such as the ceramic on ceramic or metal on plastic types. However, metal on metal implants have caused a tidal wave of lawsuits for the various companies that provide them.
Notable companies involved in current lawsuits include Johnson & Johnson and Stryker. Johnson & Johnson have been estimated to be paying around $3 billion in damages procured by the plaintiffs, as they have almost 8,000 individuals to compensate. Stryker is still evaluating costs. Resolving the hundreds of lawsuits will cost them a substantial amount of money.
Rejuvenate and ABG II Recall
Stryker’s lawsuits have been ongoing for quite some time. Almost 20,000 Rejuvenate and ABG II hip systems had been sold before Stryker finally decided to announce a recall. The FDA had received numerous complaints from patients regarding the premature failure of the hip implants. In July 2012, the company officially halted production worldwide and recalled all Rejuvenate and ABG II hip systems. There are currently 350 lawsuits which have been filed against Stryker in the USA alone. These cases have been centralized as part of a Stryker MDL (Multidistrict Litigation).
The problem with the two metal on metal systems, Rejuvenate and ABG II, is that they experience early failure due to fretting and corrosion. The products manufactured by Stryker also have side effect of excessive ion concentration in blood and tissues around the implant, otherwise known as “metallosis”. Metal poisoning can cause various other issues within the body and can even be life-threatening for some. The reason the Stryker Corporation is being held accountable is because they provided the public with faulty implants and failed to inform patients about these side effects. This was both their medical and ethical responsibility.
Resolution through Mediation
A New Jersey state court has recommended a mediation program to reach an outside court settlement. What this means is that the first ten cases will be negotiated and the remaining cases will follow the settlements agreed to in by the initial cases. Mediation is beneficial to both parties as a settlement can be reached without cumbersome trials and legal proceedings. However, with mediation outside court, the plaintiffs may not be offered the same compensation they may have been given if the case was dealt with by a judge.
The Stryker Company’s settlement has been expected to be around $1.13 billion. However, the company is still calculating costs and hopes to find an easier route through mediation.