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Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Case End With Significant Jury Award


If the bellwether trial of a plaintiff who suffered complications from a metal-on-metal hip implant is any indication of future verdicts, Wright Medical Technology should be worried.Savoyard-Page133

A jury awarded $11 million to a woman suing for damages following surgery to replace her joint with the company’s Conserve system. The woman, Robyn Christiansen, of Utah, experienced severe pain accompanied by a grinding sound in her groin while practicing yoga. Her hip dislocated, and she had to undergo a second surgery, called a revision, to repair the problem. During the revision, the surgeon found signs of metallosis, an adverse reaction to the metal-on-metal that causes tissue damage and tumors and is extremely debilitating.

After hearing the case, an Atlanta jury awarded the plaintiff $10 million in punitive damages and another $1 million in compensatory damages in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta.

“Christiansen was diagnosed as having a loose and displaced acetabular cup in her right hip replacement, which required revision surgery,” according to Harris Martin Publishing, which reported the news.

Multiple victims have taken legal action against Wright Medical Technology for its defective device. Each case is different, yet each has a lot in common. Plaintiffs complain of pain and strange sounds, like Christiansen, but also of loss of movement and swelling. Almost all cases require revisions. Still, the Conserve system has not been recalled.

According to the National Joint Registry’s 2015 Annual Report, the Wright Conserve Resurfacing Cup can experience a revision rate of up to 11.58% at only 7 years. 

The defect stems from the cobalt-chromium alloy that comprises the femoral head and acetabular cup. As the patient walks, the system, mimicking the replaced joint, emits pieces of metal into the body, causing metallosis.

“There may be the potential for a local tissue reaction due to the presence of the foreign material alone,” the American Recall Center warns. “There exists a potential of debris forming over time along with elevated metal ions formed with the constant rubbing of the surfaces together.”

Patients experiencing symptoms three months or more after their surgeries are strongly advised to follow up with their surgeons.

For more information on Wright Medical Technology Conserve Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, click here.

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