Articles Posted in Dangerous Products

The Farber Law Group, a medical malpractice law firm located in Bellevue, Washington, recommends that all patients fitted with a DePuy metal-on-metal ASR hip implant seek legal counsel before statute of limitations run out.

Seattle DePuy Hip Replacement LawyerIf you are a patient with a ASR XL Acetabular and Hip Resurfacing Systems, you could literally be forfeiting hundreds of thousands of dollars if you wait too much longer to file a claim. If you are a loved one received a DePuy ASR hip implant and you have not yet filed a claim, you should call The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 as soon as possible to make sure you do not limit your recovery.

The DePuy ASR hip implant was recalled because of its high failure rate. The hip implant has been known to cause fractures and dislocations. Many patients have suffered considerable pain. One of the most worrisome side effects of the hip implant, however, is the metal debris of cobalt an chromium which can be shed in a patient’s tissue and blood stream when the metal parts of the hip implant rub. The Farber Law Group can recommend the specific blood test which measures levels of heavy metal in a patient’s blood stream. If a patient tests positive at certain levels, it is a good indication that the hip implant should be removed and replaced.

Heavy Metal Poisoning

Heavy metal poisoning such as chromium toxicity or cobalt toxicity may not immediately cause physical symptoms. However, the presence of heavy metals in the body can cause long-term damage. A build-up of Cobalt can cause nerve damages, thyroid problems, kidney failure, pulmonary syndrome, hemorrhage, skin problems and gastrointestinal distress. A build-up Chromium can elevate one’s cancer risk, cause reproductive problems, DNA mutations and can impair the liver.

What Concentration of Metal is Considered High?

DePuy Orthopedics, Inc. reports that 7 parts per billion of cobalt or chromium are high levels and should concern patients. The famous Mayo Clinic sets a different level. High Chromium levels are “blood serum concentrations greater than 1ng/mL in a patient with Cr-based implant suggest significant prosthesis wear.” Toxic levels of Cobalt are any levels greater than or equal to 5.0 ng/mL.Since metal can build up over time, any elevated level may cause concern. One should check with their doctor to verify what the actual numbers are.
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Seattle DePuy Hip Replacement Lawyer

Patients with the DePuy ASR XL hip implants that were implanted by orthopedic surgeons in Washington State between 2005 and 2010 should be aware that the statute of limitations is nearing. Patients with the defective hip implants are advised to seek the counsel of an attorney to protect their rights.

The ASR XL Acetabular hip implants were manufactured by DePuy Corporation, a subsidiary of the giant Johnson & Johnson. The ASR hip implants were manufactured using a metal-on-metal design which was found to have a high failure rate and injured many patients.

DePuy’s ASR XL implant system was implanted by Washington surgeons for use in total hip replacement surgeries between 2005 and until August, 2010. The hip implants were banned in some European countries and Australia long before DePuy Corporation removed them from the American marketplace and provided a warning to to orthopedic surgeons on August 24, 2010. The recall of the ASR XL hip implant system was reported in the media and the FDA issued warnings regarding its safety.

Washington law requires an injured party claiming damages from a harmful medical device product, such as the ASR XL, to file a lawsuit within three years from the date that the claimant discovered, or in the exercise of due diligence should have discovered, that the medical damages and harm suffered were caused by the device. An aggrieved patient suffering injury from the medical device must properly commence a lawsuit against its manufacturer within this three-year period or risk forever being barred from prosecuting the claim. The exact date that the three-year period begins to run for a given product is uncertain and will be determined based upon the specific facts involved in each case. Potential DePuy implant plaintiffs should be aware that the day before the three-year anniversary of the ASR XL’s recall is next month on August 23, 2013.

The statute of limitations does not run from the date the implant was used at surgery, but begins to run when the patient has sufficient knowledge that they have a defective implant and that it is probably causing them harm. The applicable statute requires the patient to use due diligence and to reasonably investigate the facts of their situation. Once a plaintiff knows that they have suffered harm from the product, they must file a lawsuit within three years.

During the five years that the ASR XL was in use, surgeons implanted approximately 93,000 implants in patients undergoing total hip replacement surgery. Approximately 1/3 of these implants were used in the United States.

There are currently more than 10,750 lawsuits pending against DePuy alleging that the implants were defective medical products and therefore subject to products liability claims by the receiving patients. The vast majority of the lawsuits are in federal court and centralized for pretrial matters in a multi-district litigation court in the Northern District of Ohio. A fewer number of cases have been filed in the state courts of California, Illinois, and New Jersey.

The first lawsuit tried against DePuy took place in Los Angeles, California in March of this year. The jury returned an $8.3 million verdict for the 64-year-old plaintiff who suffered tissue damage and kidney failure caused by the metal ions that had leached from the implant. In the second trial, which occurred in an Illinois state court in Chicago the following month, the jury sided with DePuy, finding that the plaintiff did not sufficiently prove that his medical injuries were caused by the defective implant instead of a pre-existing autoimmune disorder.

Trials are scheduled to start against DePuy in federal court this fall. Those involved in the litigation anticipate that after these cases are completed, DePuy and its parent corporation, Johnson & Johnson, will begin a process of systematically settling the filed cases.

The settlement amounts will be paid from a $3 billion reserve fund set aside by Johnson & Johnson and earmarked for this purpose. Because the implant lawsuits are not part of a class action, each individual settlement amount will be based upon the facts and merits of each separate claim.

Because both DePuy and Johnson & Johnson admit that approximately 50% of all of the ASR XL implants will fail within the first five years of their use, and other medical studies now project a failure rate of almost 90%, it is important for persons who have this implant to take steps now to protect their legal rights by commencing a lawsuit if they are having difficulties with the implant.
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a Class I recall for Depuy Orthopaedics, Inc. LPS Diasphyseal Sleeve, a device used in reconstructive knee surgeries. Depuy is the orthopedics product division of Johnson & Johnson.

Class I recalls are the most serious type of recall and it issued for defective or dangerous consumer products which could cause serious health effects or even death.

The FDA issued the recall after it received reports the device failing in 10 patients. In six of the reported cases, patients suffered a fracture and in four of the patients, there was loosening of the device.

According to the FDA, the connection between the Diaphyseal Sleeve to Diaphyseal Base taper may not be strong enough to bear loads when people are walking. In some cases, the sleeve may fracture which can cause the patient not able to use their limb. Other complications can include infection, damage to the soft tissue and even death.

The FDA recalled the devices which were manufactured from 2008 thru July 20, 2012. For information on the list of product codes and lot numbers in the recall, see the Recall Notice.

What does a Recall Mean?

DePuy issued the Urgent Medical Device Recall on January 4, 2013 which alerted hospitals and surgeons that the product should stop being used immediately. Any products currently in stock are to be returned to the manufacturer.

DePuy does not recommend revision (device replacement) surgery but they are urging surgeons to follow up with patients and discuss the risks involved with the device and what to do in case the patient starts experiencing symptoms of device failure.
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With the holiday toy-buying season upon us and just in time to inform parents, grandparents and other who will be buying toys this season, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission released the report for 2011 of toy injuries.

The CPCSC works to protect children and adults from injury or death from consumer products. According to the CPSC, in 2011, there were an estimated 193,200 toy-related injuries to children under the age of 15 which required treatment in an emergency room.

Forty-four percent of the children treated in emergency rooms suffered lacerations, contusions or abrasions and nearly 50% were injuries to the head or face.

Toy related deaths are a tragedy to every family. In 2011, 54% of toy-related fatalities involved hanging, positional asphyxiation or traumatic asphyxia. These injuries are often related to balloons or small balls. 31% of the deaths involved drowning or motor vehicles.

The CPSC provides the following safety tips:

product liability attorney

  • Balloons — discard broken or deflated balloons immediately and then them away from children under the age of 8.
  • Small balls — keep small balls away from children under the age of 3 because they pose a choking hazard.
  • Small parts — toys with small parts like Legos can pose a choking hazard so they should be kept away from small children.
  • Riding toys and skates — children can fall or go into traffic or into a swimming pool on riding toys and skates so children should be supervised and they should wear protective pads and helmets as appropriate in case of a fall.
  • Magnets — can be very dangerous if they are swallowed so they should be kept away from children under the age of 14.
  • Packaging — packaging should be discarded immediately because they can cause asphyxiation.
  • Batteries and toys requiring chargers and adaptors — may pose a burn or electrocution hazard so children should be supervised when using these items.

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A new study published in the journal Pediatrics reports that injuries to children on inflatable bouncy houses, slides and moonwalks have increased fifteen times over since 1995.

According to the study, approximately 30 children a day were treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained on inflatable blouncers in 2010. There were 11,311 reported injuries in 2010 compared to 701 in 1995. The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System provided data for the study.

trampoline injury lawyerInjuries to children under the age of 18 included fractures, strains or sprains spinal cord, and head and neck injuries.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that parents be vigilant when children are playing on the inflatable structures. Their safety recommendations include:

  • Do not allow older and younger children to bounce together.
  • Do not allow children undehttps://www.hgfarber.com/r the age of 6 to play on an inflatable.
  • Allow only one child to bounce at a time.
  • Do not allow children to do stunts including summersaults or flips which could result in a spinal cord injury.

The study’s lead author, Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, says it is time to to draft national safety guidelines for the structures.

Injuries to children on the bouncy structures have increased while trampoline injuries have been decreasing. Manufactures and resellers of trampolines have been held liable for injuries to children in some cases. In product liability cases involving serious injuries, courts focus on whether the instructions and warnings were adequate.
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The U.S. Centers for Disease control has linked an outbreak of fungal meningitis to a steroid medication traced to a Massachusetts compounding plant. The medication is suspect in the deaths of five people and it is believed to have sickened 35 others. Several of those that became ill have also suffered strokes linked to the infection.

seattle dangerous drugs lawyerFungal meningitis is a rare illness but it is life threatening. It is usually seen in patients with high risk factors including AIDS, leukemia or people with immunodeficiency. It is not transmitted from person-to-person and is usually contracted by inhaling fungal spores in the environment or in contaminated soil.,

In this case, however, the outbreak of aspergillus meningits appears to have been contracted from a contaminated medication used in a steroid injection in the spine to treat back pain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration tested some sealed vials of the steroid medication and it was found to contain the fungus.

So far, the reported cases of meningitis have been in Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina, Indiana and Tennessee.

The New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. has  recalled three lots of the medication and pharmacies are warned to discontinue all products from he New England Compounding Center until the investigation is complete.

Compound pharmacies combine drugs to create a customized medication or they repackage drugs bought in bulk into single dosages. The fear is that the sterility of medications can be compromised during the repackaging process and that might be the problem in this case.
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A recently published study, Neurotoxcity of Cobalt, published in the May 2012 issue of the journal Human & Experimental Toxicology, a peer-reviewed journal, discusses evidence that cobalt in the blood system can cause long term health effects.

This study comes on the heels of the 2010 DePuy hip replacement device recall after it was discovered that the metal-on-metal hip implants were failing in patients at a higher than normal rate and that the rubbing of metal-on-metal caused shedding of cobalt and chromium debris at dangerous levels in patients’ tissue and bloodstream causing a condition referred to as metallosis.

Several studies theorized that cobalt and chromium in patients’ bloodstreams caused inflamed tissues, bone loss, pseudotumors as well as other problems. Now, this later study indicates that some patients with high levels of cobalt from their metal-on-metal prosthesis have experienced side effects including tinnitus, deafness, vertigo, vision problems, optic atrophy, tremors and nerve damage. The journal goes on to say that that cobalt can be toxic to vital organs such as the thyroid and heart and that it has the potential to cause cancer.

Upwards of one million of the metal-on-metal hip implants manufactured by DePuy, a division of Johnson and Johnson, have been implanted in patients in the past 15 years. Now, all of these patients are at risk for cobalt toxicity according to the researchers of the Neurotoxicity of Cobalt study.

seattle depuy hip recall lawyerResearchers found that the shedding of cobalt is at its highest levels up to two years after surgery and then increases again as the hip implant devices start to fail. The devices were marketed to younger patients with active life styles saying that they would last longer.

The civil claims against DePuy have mounted after the recall of the devices in the United States. In England, France and Australia, the devices were banned more than a year before they were recalled in the United States due to high failure rate yet DePuy continued to sell and market them in the U.S.

DePuy recommends that patients implanted with  ASR XL Acetabular and Hip Resurfacing Systems contact their surgeon so that the surgeon can evaluate using xrays, imaging and blood tests the function of the hip and any possible damage to the bone and tissue surround the implant.  On their web-site, DePuy recommends that should blood testing show high levels of metal particles after two blood tests that a replacement or revision surgery is recommended. DePuy has offered to pay for the costs of this testing.
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Ford Motor Corporation has issued a recall of approximately 485,000 Escape SUV’s because of reports that sticking gas pedals caused motor vehicle accidents.

Ford issued the recall of the 2001-2004 model years equipped with a 3-liter V-6 engine with cruise control.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the recall was issued 13 accidents which resulted in one death and nine injuries occurred.

Ford says the problem was due to an inadequate clearance between the cruise control cable and the engine cover which resulted in the throttle sticking when a driver was using cruise control.

Owners of the Escape are advised to contact Ford to schedule a repair.

This recall comes on the heals of a recall of 2013 Escapes with a 1.6 liter engine due to problem with the fuel line which could result in a fire.

Unfortunately, defects in automobiles are usually not discovered until accidents or other problems occur.
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Important Recall Notice for Washington Parents

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announces that Kolcraft enterprises has recalled approximately 36,000 Contours Options three and four-wheeled strollers because of reports of fingertip amputations to children and injuries to adults who used the strollers.

The problem with the stroller is the locking and unlocking hinge mechanism which adjusts the handlebars on the strollers.

Kolcraft and the CPSC issued the recall after they received report of three children who suffered a fingertip amputations and two adults who suffered either a crush injury or laceration while using the stroller.

The strollers, which were manufactured in China, were sold through children’s specialty stores and through online retailers including Amazon.com, Target.com, and ToysRUs. com between January 2006 and January 2012.

Consumers should stop using the product until they receive a free repair kit from the Kolcraft.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, please contact Kolcraft at (800) 453-7673 between 8 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday
Stroller recalls in the news

Last year, the CPSC issued a recall of approximately 1 million Maclaren Strollers after similar injuries. This recall was issued after 149 incidents involving the strollers including 12 fingertip lacerations., 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. ET Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.kolcraft.com
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seattle defective products lawyerI’ve always been a fan of science fiction and spy stories but I ran across an article on the BBC News web-site that was a bit too chilling even for me. Could someone actually be murdered by a person with a medical implant device by using a radio signal? I can almost see the plot line of spy thriller: a foreign dignitary is murdered when his defibrillator is switched off via a cell phone.

In “Warning over medical implant attacks“, technology correspondent Mark Ward writing for the BBC says studies reveal that medical implants are vulnerable to attacks and lives could be threatened.

Today, many patients have medical devices implanted in their bodies: Diabetics have insulin pumps which deliver insulin as needed, people with heart conditions have pacemakers to regulate their heart beat and others have defibrillators that can get a heart back into rhythm.

Some of these medical devices have wireless connections which allow physicians to monitor, update or adjust the devices remotely.

A researcher at the Internet security firm, McAfee, has discovered that these medical devices may be vulnerable to attack through their wireless connections. Researcher Barnaby Jack said:

We can influence any [insulin] pump within a 300ft [91m] range. We can do that without requiring its ID number.

Research Professor Kevin Fu at the University of Massachusetts is doing research work that is similar to McAfee’s and he has found that it is possible to turn off a defibrillator by capturing the radio signal.

While up to now, there have been no reports of a person or entity hacking a medical device, it is comforting to know that scientists are out there working on technology to safeguard patients.
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