Most of our readers will be aware that we act for many Clients who have suffered as a result of the worldwide recall by DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. recall on the 26th August 2010 of two of its’ hip replacement devices.
It is estimated that nearly half of all DePuy ASR hip implants could fail within 6 years and require revision of the primary surgery.
Many of our clients have already undergone this revision procedure and experienced the difficulties of undergoing a second surgery.
We are more than surprised at the accelerating rate of revisions required since we started to look after people who have had DePuy implants.
Many of our files against DePuy are now at an advanced stage.
In these cases the legal team for DePuy have reviewed the extensive medical records that we have supplied.
They have admitted responsibility in some of the cases and have even asked us to meet with them to discuss settlement.
In these cases we are updating our medical reports so that we have a full picture of the current medical situation and can advise Clients on the appropriate level of compensation.
In the United States of America matters are also progressing. The first Bellwether trial was due to commence in September 2013, but it settled; the terms of which are confidential.
You might wonder what a Bellwether trial is. A bellwether trial is used when a large group of claimants have brought cases based on the same claim and the only practical way to handle the caseload is through what is called, a bellwether trial. In a bellwether trial, a small group of claimants is chosen to represent the group. Those Claimants are chosen because they have issues in common with all the claimants.
Bellwether trials are a key milestone for both claimants and defendants – and are, therefore, eagerly awaited by all involved. The Bellwether trials allow both the claimant’s legal team and those of the defendants to predict how future court cases will go. If, for example, all Bellwether cases are found for the claimants, the defendant might take that as a sign that they will lose most, if not all, future litigation and settle rather than facing potentially high awards and court costs.
There are other Bellweather trials scheduled for hearing in the United States and we will keep a close eye on these trials and update you as they progress.
On the Irish front and arising out the DePuy ASR debacle, the Heath Service Executive is to order a major review of all patients fitted with metal-on-metal artificial hips.
An estimated 6,500 of the devices have been fitted to Irish patients. This figure includes the 3,500 DePuy ASR hip devices and a further 3,000 which were made by other manufacturers, many of which are still being used. The move follows a similar investigation which was launched by the UK’s medical devices regulatory agency, the MHRA, last year.
On a positive note a new Irish national database of all knee and hip joint replacement surgeries is due to log its first patients this month.
Similar registries exist in the UK, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand and were credited with detecting issues with the DePuy ASR hip device prior to its recall. The plan is that the Register will not only monitor the performance of medical devices, but it will also monitor the activity of medical professionals who fit the devices as well as the institutions in which the hip replacement procedures are carried out.
It is our hope and aspiration that the work that we have done in the conduct of our cases for our clients has resulted in the changes that have been made to a system that was in serious need of an overhaul.
It should not have taken litigation to ensure that we had a Joint Register, an automatic retention of devices for forensic purposes, or a more thorough pre vetting of such devices before they are released onto the market.
We look forward, over the next number of months, to bringing any of the cases that we are involved in, and that are ready for conclusion, to a satisfactory finish for our clients.