1. What is “DePuy Orthopaedics” and how is it related to Johnson & Johnson?
DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. designs, manufactures, and distributes orthopedic devices such as artificial hips, knees, and shoulders. Johnson & Johnson is the parent company of DePuy.
2. What replacement hip devices did DePuy recall?
On August 26, 2010, DePuy recalled the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. The XL Acetabular System is a total hip replacement system, and the Hip Resurfacing System is a partial hip replacement.
3. Why did DePuy recall its ASR devices?
DePuy recalled the ASR devices because data indicate that a higher-than-average number of recipients experience pain and other negative side effects that makes a second hip replacement surgery necessary. 1 out of 8 people who received an ASR Hip System require new surgery within five years.
4. Were both ASR devices available in the United States?
The ASR Hip Resurfacing System was sold outside of the United States only. The ASR XL Acetabular System was sold worldwide.
5. Didn’t the ASR devices have to be approved by the government?
Medical devices, such as a hip replacement implant, must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA approved the ASR XL Acetabular System in 2005. The ASR Hip Resurfacing System was never approved for use in the United States, although some U.S. residents may have traveled overseas to receive the implant.
6. How do I know if I have an ASR device?
DePuy Orthopaedics can not tell you if you have an ASR device, as it does not keep records of patients who received an ASR implant. To determine the brand of your replacement hip, you should contact your doctor or orthopedic surgeon. If you do not know who your surgeon was, you can call the hospital where your surgery was performed.
7. What danger does my ASR device pose to me?
You could suffer a number of painful symptoms and serious side effects from your ASR hip. Patients have reported adverse tissue reactions such as swelling and inflammation from metal particles released by the ASR devices. The implants can also come loose from the bone, dislocate, fracture bone around the implant, and generally cause you pain and difficulty walking.
8. What is “revision” surgery?
A revision surgery is performed after a previous, initial surgery. Approximately 12.5 percent (1 out of 8) of ASR recipients have required revision surgery within five years due to the failure of their original implant.
9. What if my doctor hasn’t called me?
Your doctor should call you. If he or she has not, you can be proactive by calling your doctor or the hospital where your surgery was performed.
10. What if I’m not in any pain or discomfort?
A lack of pain or discomfort does not mean that your ASR hip is not defective. Further tests may be required to determine whether your replacement hip is functioning properly. In some cases an annual evaluation may be necessary because it could take time—years, even—before signs of failure manifest.
11. If I need tests or surgery, who will pay for it?
DePuy has stated that it intends to pay for the costs of testing and treatment (including revision surgery) related to the ASR recall, as well as some out-of-pocket expenses.
12. Should I call the DePuy “Help Line”?
DePuy requests that you call its Help Line to initiate the claims process, which it says is necessary for reimbursement. Recent developments, however, suggest that this could do more harm than good to your case.
13. Should I sign a medical records release form?
You should not sign any document provided by DePuy (or by your doctor to be sent to DePuy) without first speaking with an experienced DePuy hip replacement lawyer. A medical release form grants DePuy access to your medical records, which the company could use against you.
14. Will I need to sue DePuy?
The short answer is “maybe.” DePuy has offered to pay for the costs of testing and treatment related to the ASR recall. In reality, though, full compensation for your injuries might not be possible without filing a lawsuit. Furthermore, you might need to take legal action to obtain compensation for your pain and suffering.
15. Do I have to sue DePuy within any certain amount of time?
Due to statutes of limitations, you have a limited amount of time to take legal action against DePuy. Failure to act quickly could mean the loss of your claim forever.
16. Do I need a lawyer to get compensation?
In theory, DePuy will compensate you for the costs related to its ASR hip recall, but there is reason to believe that the company will try to fight victims’ claims. Coupled with the fact that DePuy has made no indication that it will compensate victims for pain and suffering, you may end up having to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit.
17. What kind of compensation can I get from DePuy?
People who are injured by a defective medical product can potentially recover a number of types of damages (money awards), although the actual amount you might be entitled to depends on the specific circumstances of your particular case.
18. Should I join a class action?
While a class action lawsuit is an effective mechanism for getting an entity (such as a large company) to change its practices, it typically is not ideal for addressing the actual harm done to an individual (such as the recipient of a defective hip implant).
19. How much will I pay my lawyer?
You will likely pay your lawyer only if you obtain compensation from DePuy. If you are successful, the amount you pay your lawyer will typically be a percentage of the total recovery.
20. How long will it take to get money from DePuy?
With any luck, only months. More likely, however, it will take a year or longer. Unfortunately, lawsuits can turn into long, drawn out affairs, but RLG will do everything possible to avoid unnecessary delays.