Hip replacements can be a wonderful thing — when they work. Unfortunately, artificial hip joints that are defectively designed or defectively manufactured are serious problems.
They can injure patients when they fail and require expensive, painful corrective surgery — which ultimately exposes patients to additional risks of infection and other complications.
Common health issues with defective artificial hips
The majority of defective artificial hips have been composed of metal, not ceramic. The friction between components of the artificial joint can release tiny metal shavings into the patient’s body. In addition, the metal pieces begin to break down. Patients experience a variety of common complaints:
- Infection at the surgical site or within the joint
- Swelling and pain around the implant
- Metal toxicity and blood poisoning (metallosis) from the metal shavings
- A hip joint that dislocates randomly, causing falls and severe pain
- Fractures from falls after a hip joint freezes or dislocates
Some companies have voluntarily recalled their artificial hips. In many cases, however, patients have still filed lawsuits to recover their damages, including compensation for their pain and suffering.
Flawed designs lead to manufacturer liability
Manufacturers are liable under the rules of product liability. When a product is defective from the start, either due to a defective design or a defective manufacturing process, it may be possible to hold anyone in the chain of distribution liable for the damages done to a victim. This includes:
- The designer
- The research company
- The manufacturer
- The wholesaler
- The distributor
In general, when an item fails from a defect, the burden of proof gets shifted to the defendant. He or she has to prove that there was no negligence — which makes it easier on victims to ultimately recover.
Some failures can lead to medical malpractice claims
In some cases, doctors and hospitals can also be held liable for defective hip implants.
Any hip implant failure should be evaluated to see if the physician was also negligent. Your surgeon could have incorrectly installed the artificial hip, which could lead to a failure even if the hip would have otherwise been fine. In addition, the doctor could have implanted an artificial hip that was already under recall.
Artificial hip failure is a serious health issue and a complex legal problem. If you suffer from this condition, consider exploring your legal options carefully.
Source: FindLaw, “Metal Hip Replacement Lawsuit,” accessed Feb. 28, 2018