Of course, there are always risks inherent with any sort of medical procedure. However, when patients go to the doctor, they assume that they are well informed of the risks and that the resulting benefits outweigh said risks associated with whatever is being performed.
When a patient is getting a hip replacement, they are undergoing a serious operation in the hopes that the extreme joint discomfort or arthritis they are experiencing will be relieved. For most patients, it is projected that a hip replacement will remain in good operating condition for the patient for about 15 years.
At times a replacement can prematurely fail and require another surgery, but this is only expected to happen on a small scale — as little as 5 percent of patients should need another replacement within 5 years of the first hip replacement surgery. Unfortunately, an all-metal hip implant that was made by Johnson & Johnson has been shown to fail prematurely at an alarming rate.
The device was recalled in 2010, but it was too late and thousands of lawsuits have been filed by patients that have suffered due to this mistake. Trial is set to begin this week after it has been determined that as much as 40 percent of patients that received this hip replacement saw failure within five years.
Johnson & Johnson may have had knowledge of some of the issues associated with this device since 2008. Some experts project that thousands more could suffer in the next few years. When the device fails, it means that the victim is subjected to another expensive and painful surgery. The outcome of this litigation remains to be seen, but a substantial settlement could be in order for these victims that suffered.
Source: The New York Times, “Maker Aware of 40% Failure in Hip Implant,” Barry Meier, Jan. 23, 2013