Annie O’Neill, 67, called herself an active, flexible and tireless nature enthusiast who enjoyed hiking and rock climbing. But after surgery to implant an artificial hip that was later deemed defective, Annie was left cautiously walking with the aide of a hiking stick on even the smoothest surfaces. Just 14 months after her artificial joint was implanted, she had to go under the knife again so that doctors could remove the defective part and replace it with a new one. Annie says she should never have had to go through the pain and discomfort from the faulty joint, nor the ordeal of a second surgery. She is suing the makers of her defective hip replacement system, DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
Late last summer, DePuy announced a recall of two of parts of its hip replacement system, the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System, because a higher than expected number of patients who received the implants were experiencing problems within five years of having surgery. Comparatively, most hip replacements can last 35 years before needing to be replaced.
While most patients experience pain and discomfort after hip replacement surgery, they do recover. But patients who continue experience pain several months after surgery, or whose pain returns, may have a defective artificial hip. The problems arise when the implant does not stay attached to the bone in the proper position, the bone around the implant fractures, or dislocation occurs where the two parts of the implant that move against each other are no longer aligned. Annie’s symptoms occurred when her DePuy ASR detached from her pelvis.
Annie’s lawsuit claims that her DePuy artificial hip was defective and failed because of a design flaw. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco, California.