TV’s Dr. House solves case of patient with metal poisoning due to artificial hip implant

The medical drama “House” is popular with its fans because of its interesting main character, Dr. House played by the actor Hugh Laurie, and for the way the show’s writers pluck interesting medical news stories out of the headlines and weaves them into the episode’s storyline.

In the episode “Family Practice” aired on February 7, 2011, Dr. House solves the case of a patient who many thought was suffering from nothing more than hypochondria. It turns out, the patient’s symptoms were genuine and she was suffering from metal poisoning caused by her artificial hip implant.
seattle depuy hip recall lawyer
In August 2010, the DePuy Orthopaedics division of the giant Johnson & Johnson, issued a recall of the  ASR XL Acetabular and Hip Resurfacing Systems due to a high revision rate. Though patients were told that they would experience a 15-year lifespan from their ASR hip implants, patients started experiencing severe pain, bone fractures, dislocation, fractures and other complications in as little as three years.

Perhaps the most concerning data from the DePuy defective hip implants is that studies show they may cause metallosis or cobalt/chromium poisoning. Surgeons found tissue damage and necrosis in the thigh tissue of some patients with the implant. Metallosis is known to cause a whole host of other side effects including brain disease, heart disease and cancer.

The DePuy hip implants, because of their shallow cup design, can have metal-on-metal rubbing which releases cobalt and chromium ions into the patients body and blood stream which can result in metallosis. Patients with DePuy hip implants are advised to obtain blood tests to check for metals as well as getting CT scans of their hip joints.

In this episode of House, the patient, who happens to be the mother of House’s girlfriend, is first diagnosed with endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves. Dr. House discovers that the patient has a problem with her parahippocampal gyrus, which is a region in the brain that play a role in memory encoding and retrieval. That clue leads Dr. House to diagnose the patient with metallosis, or metal poisoning.

If you or a loved one received an artificial hip implant between 2003 and 2010, The Farber Law Group advises you to find out from your surgeon if the implant device was one of the recalled DePuy devices. If so, it is recommended that you see your surgeon and obtain blood tests and have your health monitored. Click here for more information about the DePuy Hip Implant recall.

Related Posts:

What does a metallosis diagnosis mean?

Nearly half of DePuy ASR hip implant patients in Ireland may need 2nd surgery

What you should do if you have a hip implant in the wake of the DePuy recall

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Seattle and Bellevue to assist you.