Manufacturer of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant to Pay Out $240M Settlement

The maker of a hip implant that has caused painful injuries to thousands of patients has recently settled with hundreds of plaintiffs. The manufacturer will pay a total of $240 million to these individuals, all of whom are based in California and Georgia, and most of whom were forced to have painful surgery to correct the damage done by the defective product.

The maker of the problematic hip implant is Wright Medical Technology. In 2006, it obtained Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of its Conserve Cup hip implant. This medical device was composed of a cobalt-chromium acetabular cup holding a cobalt-chromium femoral head. Wright asserted that, since the device was similar to others on the market, the FDA should provide only an expedited review of its safety before permitting the makers to begin selling it, and the FDA agreed. These expedited product review processes allow companies to avoid conducting rigorous tests of their products, often to the detriment of the patients who eventually use them.

Once on the market, Wright promised that patients who had the Conserve Cup implanted would not need to worry about replacing the device for up to 15 to 20 years. The manufacturer held out the device as an excellent solution for younger, more active individuals, claiming that the metal-on-metal design would last longer than polyethylene alternatives. However, Wright was doubtless aware of the many health issues being faced by patients who had received metal implants, and their device turned out to cause the same issues in patients. The metal components wore down faster than promised, in the process spreading metal debris into the bodies of patients. The metal shavings caused patients to test higher in cobalt and chromium ion levels. Patients often developed metallosis and suffered necrotic tissue and fluid buildup in the areas surrounding the implant. Thousands of patients have had to undergo surgery to remove the Conserve Cup years before Wright suggested this would be necessary. In fact, one organization determined that the five-year failure rate of the Conserve Cup in patients was over 8%, higher than nearly any other hip implant device. With the latest settlement, 85% of the over 2600 claims which have been filed against Wright will be settled, with the group who incurred the worst injuries receiving up to $170,000.

If you have been injured by a defective medical device such as the Wright Conserve Cup, or if you have been otherwise injured by an incident of medical malpractice, contact the compassionate, determined, and knowledgeable Lexington medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers at O'Brien Batten & Kirtley, PLLC for a consultation, at 859-317-2056.

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