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By: Austin Kirk | Published: February 6th, 2013
A Florida man has filed a class action lawsuit over the Stryker Rejuvenate hip, alleging that individuals who received the recalled modular hip stem should receive free medical monitoring to make sure they do not suffer problems associated with metal blood poisoning that may occur as the metal parts rub against each other.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Bernard G. Owen in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on January 25, seeking class action status to represent all Florida residents who received a Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacement system, which was recalled from the market in June 2012 amid problems caused by metal debris that may be released by the device.
Unlike traditional hip replacement systems, which involve a single femoral component, the Stryker Rejuvenate hip featured a two-part neck and stem design, which allowed surgeons to customize the length to match the patient. However, while hip replacements are expected to last 15 to 20 years, the Stryker hip was recalled only three years after it was introduced.
In June 2012, a Stryker recall was issued for the company’s Rejuvenate and ABG II modular neck hip stems. At that time, the manufacturer acknowledged that the components were prone to fretting and corrosion at the modular neck junction, which may cause pain, swelling and catastrophic failure of the hip replacement.
Medical Monitoring for Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Problems
According to allegations raised in the Stryker Rejuvenate hip class action, Owen received the implant in July 2011, about one year before it was removed from the market. As a result of the problems with the design of the implant, Owen claims that he and other individuals who received a Stryker Rejuvenate hip now requires medical monitoring to ensure that the modular hip neck has not fretted, corroded or otherwise failed.
To determine whether a Stryker Rejuvenate hip has failed, Owen indicates that individuals will require regular blood tests for elevated levels of chromium and cobalt, imaging studies to detect local adverse tissue reactions and pseudotumor formation, as well as additional physician exams that may reveal symptoms that are indicative of a device failure.
“As long as the Rejuvenate System hip implants remain within the body of the patient, the likely potential for future device failure exists,” claimed Owen in the complaint. “Consequently, these people require regular and frequent medical monitoring for the duration of the time the device remains in their body.”
The lawsuit calls for Stryker to create a fund specifically to pay for that medical monitoring. That fund would likely service hundreds of Florida residents who were implanted with the Rejuvenate, that lawsuit states.
Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Litigation
Since Stryker announced that they were removing the Rejuvenate hip system from the market, a growing number of product liability lawsuits have been filed by individuals who have had their implant fail, often resulting in the need for revision surgery to remove the artificial hip stem.
Lawsuits have alleged that Stryker delayed recalling the Rejuvenate hip and failed to issue timely warnings about the risk of early failure. Although hip replacements are designed to last 15 to 20 years, Stryker had to remove their product from the market just over three years after it was introduced due to the immediate reports of premature failures.
In addition to class action lawsuits seeking medical monitoring, it is expected that hundreds of individuals will file an individual Stryker Rejuvenate hip lawsuit to recover reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering that resulted after their device failed.
Last month, the Supreme Court of New Jersey approved the consolidated handling of the Stryker Rejuvenate hip litigation in that state, assigning all lawsuits filed throughout New Jersey to one judge for coordinated handling during pretrial proceedings as part of an MCL, or Multi-County Litigation.