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Hip replacements lead to two more product liability lawsuits

Hip-replacement surgery has been a staple of surgery over the last 30 years and typically uses a device made of ceramic, plastic or metal. Although a surgeon's expertise is necessary for the procedure to be successful, the prosthetic hip itself should be in excellent condition and free of defects before surgery. If not, patients are in danger of suffering unacceptable medical conditions from these defective products.

Consider two recent product liability cases in southeastern Pennsylvania. Two people filed separate lawsuits against Depuy Orthopedics and Johnson & Johnson for defective medical devices -- in this case, the hip replacements. Depuy Orthopedics is the manufacturer of the ASR XL Acetabular System; its parent company is Johnson & Johnson. The lawsuits are both seeking compensation of more than $75,000 from the defendants.

Although the plaintiffs reportedly ignored recalls of the hip replacements after their surgeries because they were not experiencing problems at the time, they accuse the defendants of knowing about the defects before the devices were implanted in them. One plaintiff underwent replacement surgery in November 2007, and the other in January 2010. Their problems began at the end of 2013 when the plaintiffs suffered pain and discomfort.

Tests confirmed high levels of cobalt and chromium in one of the plaintiff's blood, apparently caused by the defective device. The suit claims that the manufacturer and Johnson & Johnson were negligent in marketing the product despite known hazards from Australian and European patients from 2006 to 2009.

Both consumers and manufacturers are responsible for product safety. Consumers must only use products in the manner they were intended. Manufacturers have a bigger obligation because the design, quality and safety of products is in their hands. Any hazards should be properly addressed or the designers and manufacturers may be liable for compensation from a product liability lawsuit.

Source: Pennsylvania Record, "Patients sue hip replacement manufacturer for device defects," Jim Boyle, Aug. 28, 2014

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