More than 800,000 hip and knee implants are performed on Americans every year, comprising a $6.7 billion industry. For the medical device manufacturers, the earning potential for a single kind of implant is extraordinary, giving them every incentive to keep it on the market as long as possible. This presents a conflict with the current accountability system for medical device safety.
After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a device, there is no government agency in place to evaluate the long-term performance and continued safety of the implant. This leaves consumers reliant on the drug manufacturers to research the safety of the product and issue warnings about any adverse affects the company uncovers. Manufacturers are not quick to pursue research that could negatively impact sales and, for this reason, unsafe hip and knee implants often remain on the market where they injure consumers.
Hip and Knee Implant Failure
When the failure of an artificial joint implant is due to the device being defective, the patient may have any combination of the following symptoms:
Artificial joint implant failure may often lead to revision surgery. Revision surgery is costly and painful. The revision surgery is more invasive and complicated than the original and sometimes actually requires two procedures to complete. Risk of complications is also higher with the revision surgery. The surgical procedure itself is lengthier, as is the recovery time. Sometimes the recuperating patient has to rely on walking devices for up to a year, and feelings of stiffness and pain as well as loss of mobility may persist for even longer. Costs for the second surgery are high, especially when incurred within a couple years of the first surgery. During the long recovery, patients often find themselves unable to return to work, causing additional financial hardship.
Hip and knee implants on average should last 15-20 years. For many older people who receive an artificial joint, the device should last for their remaining years. For people of this age group, who are the most likely recipients of joint implants, a second surgery is particularly dangerous. Many of them are also on a fixed income and the cost of a second surgery can be crippling. Artificial joint manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure these and all consumers are getting the best possible product.
What You Can Do
If you have been injured by a delinquent artificial joint manufacturer, you deserve compensation. Heygood, Orr & Pearson has the resources to protect the rights of you and your loved ones against medical device manufacturers who would put your safety at risk. Contact us for a free case evaluation.