DePuy Wants You to Give Your Defective Hip Implant Back
After DePuy issued its recall notice, it sent a letter to the surgeons who had conducted hip replacement surgeries using the ASR XL Acetabular System. In part, the letter informed the surgeons that DePuy was offering to pay for their patients' hip revision surgery.
In exchange, the company wanted just one minor thing: the hip implant.
On the face of it, this doesn't seem like an out-of-line request. After all, DePuy was offering to replace the faulty hip implants and told the surgeons that it wanted to see the explants to figure out what was wrong with the design and make improvements in future models. Many patients may very well have thought that returning the hip implant to DePuy was actually returning the device to its proper owner.
Not so. DePuy has no right to your hip implant - emphasis here on your. You bought and paid for the hip implant when you first had a hip replacement surgery. It belongs to you.
The other problem, of course, is that handing over the explant is as bad as handing over the keys to your case.
Why Your Hip Implant is Valuable to Your Case
When archaeologists discover human bones buried thousands of years ago, they can discern amazing things about how those people lived, interacted, and died. Sometimes they can even determine the profession or position they held in society depending on the way the bones had been worn down over time.
Your hip implant tells a similar story. The way that it has deteriorated over time will reveal whether it is your behavior or DePuy's poor design that has caused the medical problems you and others have experienced as a direct result of the implant. DePuy would very much like to prove that your lifestyle since the surgery has caused the breakdown of your hip implant. Failing that, the company would like to prove that the way your doctor placed the implant has made it ineffective.
If DePuy holds the explant, it can attempt to imply that you caused your hip implant's failure. If you hold it, your legal representation can prove otherwise.
The Art of Misdirection
DePuy offered patients a free hip revision surgery as an enticement. For patients who are fearful that their hip implant is faulty and causing problems like metal sensitivity, metallosis, heavy metal poisoning, and bone deterioration, the offer of a no-cost revision is extremely appealing. Worried that the longer they retain the hip implant, the worse off they will be, those patients are likely to sign the consent forms presented to them without reviewing them properly. Even if they do review the forms, it's not likely the full ramifications will become clear until it's too late.
If DePuy lacked sufficient talent to properly design and engineer a functioning implant, they've made up for that shortcoming by perfecting the art of misdirection. Distracting patients with the offer of a free hip revision surgery, DePuy is making the removed hip explants disappear into thin air - or, at the very least, into the hands of their legal defense.
It's a clever con, and it is very easy to be taken in by it. Many patients have already signed away their own hip explants to DePuy in exchange for the free hip revision surgery, and have undermined their case by doing so. However, even if you have already signed the consent forms, there are ways to reverse the trick and bring the faulty hip implant out of the shadows and back into the light.
It is entirely possible that DePuy intends to use the explants to improve on their current model and produce a better ASR Acetabular System. However, the evidence thus far is not in favor of that story. Leaving aside the fact that DePuy never put the hip implant through clinical trials in the first place, in previous litigation on another implant case, the company's defense team used the explants to try to prove the plaintiff caused the problems himself.
In one particularly frightening story recounted to us by an attorney who referred a client to us, a hip explant was "lost" after a revision surgery. The hospital and surgeon's staff insisted that the explant was being held at the hospital after surgery. Another staff member said the explant had been thrown out along with other surgical waste, admitting later that a DePuy representative was present at the hospital on the day of the operation.
We cannot offer irrevocable proof of this story and we have no reason to believe that DePuy representatives are actively attempting to scoop up explants immediately after surgery. However, it is a troubling story and we have no reason to disbelieve the word of the attorney who recounted it. If nothing else, it would seem to indicate that DePuy's motives are not as benign as they claim.
Unless, of course, the representative merely wanted the explant to help the company's engineers improve the design. It must be a great comfort to the patient whose personal property was lost to know that her case was undermined for such a worthy cause.
Don't Sign Your Rights Away
You are entitled to a hip revision surgery without submitting your explant to DePuy. We believe you should be compensated for all medical costs related to the faulty hip implant, which would include the revision surgery.
To put it another way, you can allow them to pay for the surgery now and lose a great deal of future compensation in the future - or you can retain your own explant and receive the compensation you are due, including the cost of the revision, after we have used your explant to make a strong case against DePuy in a mass action lawsuit.
If you are asked to sign a document waiving your right to keep your own explant, we strongly advise you not to sign it. If you have already done so, please contact our offices immediately at 1-800-677-7095 or via our online contact form. We may be able to help retrieve the explant or show that DePuy obtained it improperly.
Learn more about how joining a mass action lawsuit strengthens your case against DePuy.
Learn more about how DePuy got a faulty hip implant through the FDA approval process.
Learn more about why women have a disproportionately larger number of problems with the ASR Acetabular System.