September 13, 2012 — Seven plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against Stryker Orthopaedics, Inc., a Michigan-based medical device company that manufactures the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants. The hip implants were recalled in July 2012 after being linked to severe, premature fretting and corrosion. Patients implanted with the devices may suffer heavy metal poisoning caused by toxic nano-particles of chromium and cobalt.
The lawsuits were filed in Bergen County Superior Court in New Jersey. Plaintiffs allege the Stryker was negligent in designing, testing, manufacturing, and marketing of the hip implants. Many are seeking compensation for the painful, expensive surgery to replace the recalled hip implant. Others have suffered through extreme pain and suffering and still suffer from decreased quality of life.
Some people who tried to have the recalled hip implant removed have suffered hip fractures during surgery. The Rejuvenate and ABG II are modular-neck implants, which are driven into a patient’s femur. To replace the hip implant, a surgeon must remove the defective implant and re-drive another hip implant into the femur. In some individuals, the risk of femur fracture may be more severe than the side effects of metal poisoning.
Stryker spokeswoman Jeanine Guilfoyle declined to comment on the litigation, saying, “As a matter of company policy, we do not comment on legal matters.”
Several plaintiffs in Florida have also filed lawsuits. One of these plaintiffs is Diane Pingle, who suffers from cobalt poisoning that causes fatigue and pain. She also suffered a bone fracture during surgery to correct problems with the implant. She was the first person to file a lawsuit against Stryker after the recall.
The problem with the Rejuvenate, ABG II, and many other hip implants with metal-on-metal components, is that the metal parts grind together when the patient moves. Over time, particles of chromium can shed into the body. Once these particles are absorbed by white blood cells, they are exposed to oxygen, causing the chromium to corrode and release charged cobalt ions. Charged cobalt is highly genotoxic — it damages cellular DNA, which can potentially cause severe tissue damage, bone loss, displacement of the hip joint, formation of pseudo-tumors, and other severe side effects.
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