OtisKnee Lawsuit Filed Over Problems with Illegal Knee Replacement Cutting Guides

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson
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According to allegations raised in a recent product liability lawsuit filed against Stryker, problems with OtisKnee cutting guides caused a Pennsylvania woman to require revision surgery because her bones were inaccurately cut by the device, which were later found to be on the market illegally. 

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Edra Carvell in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on December 2, indicating that thousands of OtisKnee Orthopedic Cutting Guides distributed throughout the U.S. were defective, unsafe and never approved by the FDA.

Stryker Corporation, as well as its Howmedica Osteonics and OtisMed subsidiaries were named as defendants in the lawsuit. More than 18,000 OtisKnee devices were sold by OtisMed between May 2006 and September 2009, according to the complaint. However, the manufacturer did not seek approval for the devices until October 2008, and the FDA ultimately denied approval in September 2009, indicating that the OtisKnee cutting device was neither safe nor effective. Stryker bought OtisMed two months later.

Carvell indicates that she underwent a right total knee replacement in May 2008, during which her surgeon implanted various Howmedica components and utilized Stryker Simplex bone cement. An OtisKnee device was also used to make measurements and to cut and reshape Carvell’s leg bones in order to accommodate the implant of the artificial knee.

Following the knee replacement, Carvell experienced progressively increasing pain and problems, ultimately requiring revision surgery less than one year later because the joint failed due to loosening of the tibial component and failure of the joint, among other reasons.

“Had Plaintiff Edra Carvell or her physician known that the OtisKnee device had not been approved byt he FDA at the time of surgery, the OtisKnee device would not have been used during Edra Carvell’s initial knee replacement surgery and she would not have suffered early failure of the prosthesis necessitating revision surgery,” according to allegations outlined in the complaint.

In late 2014, OtisMed Corp and its former chief executive officer pled guilty to distributing the FDA-rejected OtisKnee cutting guides for knee replacements, receiving a fine of $34.4 million fine and $5.16 million in criminal forfeiture. The company also agreed to pay $40 million in a civil settlement.

The FDA estimates that the fines and penalties amounted to about three times the revenue the company brought in by illegally selling the cutting guides.

However, the fines do not prevent Carvell and others from filing OtisKnee lawsuits over problems caused by the device. Carvell presents claims of defective design, manufacturing defect, failure to warn, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, breach of warranty, fraud, and unfair and deceptive trade practices. She seeks both punitive and compensatory damages.

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1 comment

  1. Silous Reply

    I had both knees replaced in Jan and march of 2006 the only card the doctor gave me for air ports for flying said I had Stryker knee replacements in 09 my right knee came loss and had a revision sergery with a longer rod done then a couple months later timdon snapped had to have repair with cable right knee again then about 2014 knee would start swelling up but befor I’d go to doctor go back down then in oct of 15 was working felt a pop knee started swelling next morning swelled up were I count hardly walk went to a ergent care I was working out of state . I told them herts like hell cant walk said let’s exray it I said ok thay said we need to show you this my right knee had came loss and the cable had been coming loss for a wile to but my left knee was in the exray the way thay had had me put it wile thay exrayed and the tee implants had turned and was loss to I need and orthapetic surgeon I said I’ll go back to who did it I wasn’t going in the hospital 1600 miles from home when I whent to see him he said I need some one Ellis this time both knees need replaced again I got suspicious and ask the hospital for my knee typ and numbers I’ve been there 3 times call several and thay told me I’ve never been there but for the last two visits to replace these last two knees I asked them if my other knees were recalled thay said we don’t have any records of you being here are you sher you had it done here you must have had it done some were Elis I told them you build my ins and I payed the deductuble and I still can’t get and anser from them . Had it done in stLouis has any one Elis had 5 knee replacement and this time it put me on disability and I can’t work he’ll of a way to end up thought it get done and I’ll be back working not screwed for life .had a hell of a good job and can’t walk enuff now to do it .

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