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According to allegations raised in a lawsuit filed against Smith & Nephew, problems with the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) system caused a Michigan woman to suffer painful complications due to metal blood poisoning, which ultimately led to the need for revision surgery less than three years after the artificial hip was implanted.
The complaint (PDF) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on April 20, indicating that Rosetta Ventimiglia developed a medical condition known as metallosis from the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing implant, after metal debris was shed by the hip during normal daily activities.
Ventimiglia was 56 years old when she received a Smith & Nephew Birmingham implant in April 2014, consisting of a size 50 cup and size 44 femoral head as part of a right hip resurfacing procedure. Soon after, she began to experience hip pain, limited range of motion, as well as “clunking” and “locking” sensations in her right hip, the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing lawsuit indicates.
Blood tests revealed elevated levels of cobalt and chromium in Ventimiglia’s body, which is known as metallosis and causes the death of surrounding tissue. As a result of the Birmingham hip failure, Ventimiglia had to undergo additional surgery to remove the implant in November 2016.
“In the revision surgery, the tissues in the area were found to be stained with metal, and cloudy fluid was present, consistent with a metal reaction,” the lawsuit states. “There was extensive metallosis around the acetabular component, including a defect in the medial wall of the pelvis, from the materialization of the resurfacing component.”
Ventimiglia also suffered a femoral fracture during the hip revision surgery, the lawsuit notes. She had to undergo extensive recovery as well as months of physical therapy.
The claim is one of a growing number of Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing lawsuits filed nationwide, each involving similar allegations that the artificial hip system was defective and unreasonably dangerous, causing users to suffer painful complications that often resulted in revision surgery.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ordered that all product liability lawsuits over Birmingham Hip Resurfacing be centralized before U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake in the District of Maryland.
As hip replacement lawyers continue to review and file cases for individuals nationwide, it is ultimately expected that hundreds, if not thousands, of cases may be brought in the coming weeks and months.