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Richard R. Schlueter
Richard R. Schlueter
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DePuy ASR Hip Implant Failure: Who is Responsible?

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DePuy’s Faulty Hip Implant Devices
Hip implants are supposed to improve your health. They are not supposed to create more problems and require corrective surgery. However, more than 93,000 patients have experienced health issues from the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, faulty hip implant devices manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics. DePuy has acknowledged that one in eight patients have required a revision surgery.

In a written statement DePuy has said, “Your safety and health is important to DePuy and we do not want cost to be a barrier to treatment. DePuy intends to cover reasonable and customary costs of testing and treatment if you need services, including revision surgery, associated with the recall of ASR. Bills for services should first be submitted to your insurance company or Medicare in the usual manner and DePuy will then reimburse you for your out of pocket expenses. Detailed information about the reimbursement process will be available shortly."

Shirking Responsibility
However, for at least two patients, DePuy’s reimbursement promise has rung hollow. DePuy could be seen as shirking its responsibility and delegating its problems to insurance companies. Essentially, Medicare and insurance companies are being forced to lay out the payments in hopes of one day being reimbursed.

Reimbursement Issues
But DePuy is doing more than delegating payment, it is actually blaming patients for their implants failing. In fact, in an answer to the lawsuit filed by one patient, DePuy denied the allegations, and alleged that the patient was the one who "was negligent, careless and at fault and conducted herself so as to contribute substantially to her alleged injuries and damages. "Her injuries, they said, "were not legally caused by the product at issue." Rather, the company laid out six possible factors: an allergic reaction, an idiosyncratic reaction, an idiopathic reaction, an unforeseeable illness, an unavoidable accident or a preexisting condition. None of which, the company states, was due to its culpability.

That patient, has been left in a much worse position than if she had never had the surgery at all. She has experienced more pain, less mobility, and has been left with no money or sick time left to go back to the operating room. Hip replacement is a surgery that can cost from $50,000 to $100,000 and takes at least two months to recuperate.

Another patient has experienced a similarly frustrating situation. That patient had a surgery to replace his hip before even learning about the recall. The hip had been nagging him for years making walking difficult and not allowing him to be as active as he wanted with his three young children. Fortunately, his insurance company was able to pick up most of the cost. But the bigger problem is that he feels he should be reimbursed for the three years of what he calls pain and suffering with a defective hip.

Conclusion
These faulty DePuy hip implant devices have created many more problems than solutions for thousands of patients. Countless patients have gotten worse, not better, after receiving these implants and have required additional surgery. But worse yet, is that DePuy, even after saying it would reimburse patients with the faulty implants, appears to have appears to have backtracked on that promise by disputing legitimate claims. DePuy has stated that it will take responsibility and reimburse patients who were negatively impacted by the faulty implants. It is time DePuy made good on its statement.