INSIGHTS On Massachusetts Personal Injury Law

Welcome to the SUGARMAN blog. We'll be sharing our perspectives on the state of the law and current legal issues in Massachusetts personal injury law. Issues relating to medical malpractice, construction site injuries, premises liability, product liability, motor vehicle accidents, insurance, and more will all be reviewed here by our team of lawyers who have prosecuted some of the most complex cases in Massachusetts personal injury law.

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Recalled DePuy Replacement Hip Failure Rate: Revised Data Released

Recalled DePuy Replacement Hip Failure Rate: Revised Data Released

In August of 2010, when DePuy first issued a voluntary recall of its ASR XL Acetabular and its ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems, DePuy referenced data suggesting a hip replacement revision rate of 13 percent, or 1 out of every 8 patients. (a revision is when a second surgical procedure is required to modify or replace an artificial joint that has failed). But recent data released from the United Kingdom suggests a revision rate as high as 49 percent, or four times what DePuy cited in recalling the hip replacement device last year.

The British Orthopaedic Association and the British Hip Society released a statement in early March stating that “Data on the ASR XL Acetabular System from … show the rate of second operations, or revisions, ranges from 21 percent after four years to 49 percent after six years.” Said group Chairman John Skinner “It’s probably the best indicator so far of what the failure rate is likely to be …. As far as I can tell, it’s reliable.” Skinner said the data hasn’t yet undergone the peer review process required for publication.

With all of the information out there on DePuy replacement hip litigation, many individuals question how they can best discover if they are affected by this recall. Here are some suggested steps that DePuy hip replacement patients can take:

1. Be on the lookout for a letter from your surgeon. When DePuy issued the recall last August they asked surgeons to send a letter to each patient who received an artificial replacement hip.

2. If you did not get a recall letter, call and ask your surgeon. Your surgeon should have medical records in his or her office that would identify the replacement hip used in your procedure. Ask the surgeon to send you a copy of the record or tell you the brand and model of the device used.

3. If you cannot locate your surgeon or your surgeon claims not to have access to this information contact the medical records department of the hospital where the surgery took place and request a copy of the operative report.

It is not uncommon for facilities, especially large hospitals to take 30 days or longer to supply the requested records, but remember that all patients have a right to receive a copy of their medical records. Currently there are hundreds of lawsuits pending against DePuy and Johnson and Johnson for damages caused by their defective replacement hip systems. In December 2010, a Federal Court Multi District Litigation, or MDL, was certified for DePuy litigation in the Northern District of Ohio. This means that all federally filed lawsuits will be consolidated into the Ohio MDL for discovery and Pre-Trial matters. Individual states are currently deciding how they will handle the hundreds of cases filed in state court.

SUGARMAN has a long history of successfully prosecuting product liability cases in both State and Federal Court dating back to the seminal 1979 case that allowed lawyers in Massachusetts, for the very first time, to use a recall notice like the one issued by DePuy as evidence of a product defect in a civil products liability case.

If you have any questions regarding a DePuy hip, please call Stephen Sugarman or Benjamin Zimmermann at 617-542-1000 or email or