Cobalt Chromium Toxicity

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Wright Medical Hip Settlement Update

Hi. This is Stuart Talley with Kershaw, Cook & Talley. Bill Kershaw and I are the partners responsible for the prosthetic hip litigation. Many of our clients are asking for a status update on these cases. I am doing this video today to provide an update on the ongoing Wright Medical metal on metal hip litigation.

There are several thousand Wright Medical cases now pending throughout the country. Most were consolidated in Atlanta, Georgia and some were consolidated in Los Angeles, California. There are ongoing settlement discussions in these Wright Medical metal on metal hip cases.

The Wright Medical cases are different than other hip cases we are dealing with. Wright Medical isn’t nearly as large as some of the other metal on metal hip manufacturers that have recently settled cases, such as DePuy ASR. DePuy is a huge company and a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. It produces billions in profits every year. Wright Medical is much smaller than DePuy. It would be difficult for them to pay a large settlement to everyone who has a case, given the number of cases pending. And it would be very difficult for them to pay along the lines of the DePuy ASR litigation.

So far, Wright Medical has made claims to their insurance carriers for compensation for all of the claims that were asserted with respect to their hips. There was an enormous dispute between Wright Medical and their carriers about the extent of the coverage. This concerns when a claim was technically made under the insurance policy for each one of these insurance carriers.

Over the last 6 months, there were extensive negotiations between Wright Medical and their own insurance company about the nature and extent of coverage. This is a critical issue because you need to know the amount of coverage before you can settle the cases. There was a lawsuit filed where Wright Medical actually sued their insurance carriers. My understanding is the issue with respect to the extent of coverage is close to being resolved. There will soon be discussions regarding how much each person will get under a global settlement agreement. Unfortunately, you cannot settle the individual cases until you know the amount of coverage.

I think we are getting very close to some type of settlement resolution in this case. You should listen to some of our other videos if you want some more information about how settlements in cases like this typically work. For Wright Medical, the amount and terms of the settlement are up in the air at this point. However, it does appear that a settlement is close. If the case does not settle, we have trial dates set for early next year.

Wright Pro Femur and Conserve Lawsuit Update

We are providing an update on the Wright Pro Femur and Conserve litigation. Right now, at our firm, we represent many people who have different kinds of defective hips. One of the most recent cases involves the Wright Medical hips: the Pro Femur and Conserve.

The problem with these hips is that they leech metal ions (particles) into the hip joint of people that have them. Both of these hips are made from two kinds of metal, cobalt and chromium. These metals are released into the hip joint and can cause bone destruction, soft tissue damage, pseudotumors, and destruction of nerves, tendon, and muscles.

Most of the clients that we have tell a similar story. They have the hip and the hip is causing them lots of pain. They go to the surgeon who performs an x-ray and tells them everything looks fine. Sometimes they’re sent to a back doctor, or another doctor, to figure out where the pain is coming from. The real cause becomes apparent when a blood test is done; specifically, testing the blood for cobalt and chromium. Cobalt and chromium is released into the body due to wear and tear from the hip implant. This is detected via a blood test. If the results indicate elevated levels of cobalt and chromium, the next step is having a MARS MRI. A MARS MRI is a special MRI for people with metal implants. The MRI shows if you have a pseudotumor or fluid collection in the hip.

We are handling cases that were filed among several thousand cases now pending in Atlanta, Georgia. Some are also pending in Los Angeles, California. There are trials set for March 2015.

If you have a Wright Medical hip, and are having any problems, give us a call right away. There is a statute of limitations that runs on these cases.

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants and Revision Surgery

Patients undergo hip replacement surgery in order to improve their quality of life. Hip replacement surgery is supposed to increase activity levels, improve range of motion, and ease pain and suffering. Unfortunately, after their index (initial) surgeries, individuals soon find their hip replacement is hindering rather than helping. This is often the case with metal-on-metal hip replacements.

Metal-on-metal hip systems such as the DePuy PinnacleDePuy ASRStryker Rejuvenate, Stryker ABG IIStryker AccoladeWright Pro Femur and Wright Conserve, have the highest failure rate compared to any other hip implant. Most individuals experience serious complications and subsequent failure with these implants. Complications from metal-on-metal hips include cobalt-chromium toxicity, metallosis, pseudotumors, infection, loosening and implant wear, joint stiffness, and fracture. These complications cause implant failure. Implant failure requires a second surgery, known as a revision surgery. A revision surgery requires removing the failed implant(s) and replacing with a new device.

Revision surgery is more complex and risky than the index surgery because it is more invasive. Therefore, the risk of complications is greater with a revision surgery than initial surgery. The implants are more likely to loosen, migrate, and fracture since the bone and hip joint are severely manipulated from the previous implant.

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