$15.5 Million Grant Targets Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety in Boston

The City of Boston is getting a gift aimed at safe traveling. According to Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the city has is the recipient of a $15.5 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) discretionary grant. The project has been dubbed the "Connect Historic Boston" initiative.
What this project is going to do is to create attractive, safe, and easily navigated bicycle and pedestrian connections between the city's historic treasures and the public transit system. The grant is creating the opportunity for big change in the way we look at alternative modes of transportation and is going to allow more people to experience the city's rich history on a personal level. This project is expected to greatly help out local businesses and create a whole slew of new tourism-related jobs. It's also a key in the city's Greenovate Boston initiative, which is used to help encourage locals and visitors to cut down on greenhouse emissions by cutting down on motor vehicle traffic.

Our Boston pedestrian accident lawyers understand that with more on-foot and two-wheeled traffic, we can expect to see more of these accidents. Any increase in traffic comes with an increase in accident risks. That's why officials are turning to the motoring public. As such a densely populated area, we're asking all motorists to be on the lookout for bicyclists and pedestrians. It's important to remember that we all have rights out there on our roadways, and it's important that those rights are acknowledged!

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Is Stryker Letting Down Its Customers When It Comes to Safety?

The medical device manufacturer, Stryker, describes itself as "one of the world's leading medical technology companies" that is "dedicated to helping healthcare professionals perform their jobs more efficiently while enhancing patient care." With such a positive description of their dedication to enhancing patient care, it would be reasonable for patients to expect that the company takes safety seriously and that the company doesn't release products on the market that are dangerous. books-and-pages-913588-m.jpg

In fact, our Boston defective hip implant lawyers know that patients have the right to expect that every medical device that is manufactured and sold is tested and is safe. Product liability laws in the United States are designed to ensure that manufacturers take the blame for any failure in their devices specifically because they are in the best position to test them and ensure they won't hurt patients. As such, if a medical device turns out to be defective and causes unexpected harm to patients, the individuals who are hurt don't even have to prove negligence to file a lawsuit and recover compensation.

Despite the laws protecting patients, however, news of yet another recalled Stryker product may raise concern among patients that the company perhaps has some deficiencies in its product testing systems that could be putting customers at risk.

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Warning Signs That Your Transvaginal Mesh Device is Failing

Many women suffering from stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or from pelvic organ prolapse (POP) had a transvaginal mesh device implanted. Transvaginal mesh devices provide an alternative to traditional methods of strengthening the muscles in the pelvic area to address these health problems. The supposed ease of use and other alleged benefits of transvaginal mesh made these products very popular when they were first released onto the marketplace. Although there have been reports of problems with TVM devices, the medical products are still used on many women to this day as a treatment method. danger-sign-1-1199939-m.jpg

Unfortunately, our Boston transvaginal mesh lawyers know that there are serious risks associated with the use of transvaginal mesh in surgical procedures. If you have had a procedure done and your doctor used transvaginal mesh, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of the most common problems so that you can get medical help promptly if your device starts to cause issues.

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Failure to Warn in Transvaginal Mesh Cases

Recently, our Boston transvaginal mesh lawyers reported that two transvaginal mesh claims had been resolved, one in a settlement and one in which the jury awarded a plaintiff $2 million in compensation. warning-icon-glossy-6-1023556-m.jpg

In awarding the monetary compensation to the plaintiff, the jury indicated that the transvaginal mesh product was defective and that the manufacturer, C.R. Bard Inc. was liable for failure to warn. Failure to warn is a specific legal term that will come up again in other transvaginal mesh claims and that is also important in many other cases brought against companies who release dangerous products, unsafe drugs or defective medical devices.

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DePuy Makes Argument on Laws Governing Punitive Damages

DePuy Orthopaedics is facing more than 11,500 lawsuits in the United States and many more cases abroad. Evidence indicates the company is worried about the potential outcome of all of these cases, as our Boston hip implant lawyers recently reported DePuy's parent company, Johnson & Johnson, is considering a settlement of more than $3 billion to resolve DePuy cases. This would be the highest settlement paid to-date to resolve claims arising out of defective hip implants. u-s--supreme-court-hallway-658238-m.jpg

Amid concerns about the potential liability the company faces, Harris Martin recently reported that DePuy Orthopaedics has asked the court to rule that home-state law should apply on punitive damages for the upcoming ASR multi-district litigation. If the court agrees to this, then the rights of individual plaintiffs to recover punitive damages could potentially be more limited than might otherwise be the case.

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Compounding Pharmacy Regulations Put Patients in Danger

With the recent news that two Massachusetts compounding pharmacies were closed after failing a surprise state inspection, it has become increasingly clear that unsafe compounding pharmacies are, in many cases, a public menace.

Of course, as our Boston injury lawyers know, the biggest disaster to-date was a meningitis outbreak that caused more than 700 illnesses and 50 deaths as a result of products from New England Compounding Center (NECC), which were contaminated with fungus. However, the bad news just keeps coming and the FDA is now engaged in a fight with a compounding pharmacy that is refusing to recall products that could potentially lead to life-threatening infections. getting-the-needle-for-lockjaw-1090112-m.jpg

The fight between the FDA and a compounding pharmacy called NuVision not only underscores the fact that many compounding pharmacies are taking dangerous risks with people's health, but also shows the clear need for tougher regulations and better rules on who, exactly is responsible for regulating compounding pharmacies. Tougher regulations are necessary as NuVision has refused the FDA's request for an immediate recall because the company believes it is in compliance with all current legal requirements.

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Judge Releases New Case Management Order in Stryker Hip Implant Litigation

Throughout the United States, there are hundreds of lawsuits pending against Stryker based on its Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II hip implant products. The lawsuits have been brought by individuals who had Stryker hip implants used in procedures prior to the July 2012 recall of these defective medical devices. balance-875413-m.jpg

Our Boston defective hip implant lawyers know that the outcome of pending cases are important because they can shape future litigation. While each of the different lawsuits will be resolved on their own merits if the cases proceed, verdicts or decisions that favor the plaintiff could make the company more likely to offer generous settlements to injured victims who have lawsuits pending.

Because the current litigation can have an impact on all plaintiffs, it is important to keep up-to-date with what is going on with Stryker cases, especially multi-district and multi-county proceedings. Recently, in one such proceeding in New Jersey, the court issued a new case management order.

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Massachusetts Birth Injury & the Risk of Larger Babies

It's been medically well-established that birth injuries are more likely in babies that are significantly larger in size.
Our Boston birth injury attorneys know that care of an infant begins before birth. Doctors have many tools at their disposal not only to anticipate the size of the newborn, but also to prepare and plan for any complications that might arise as a result of larger-than-average size.

That could mean ordering a C-section, rather than a vaginal birth. That could mean having specialists or others on hand in case additional efforts are necessary.

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Transvaginal Mesh Case Resolved in Plaintiff's Favor

Recently, our Boston transvaginal mesh lawyers reported that a mistrial had been declared in a bellwether transvaginal mesh case. While the need to restart the trial caused a delay in the resolution of this important case, WOWK TV now reports that the claim was resolved in the plaintiff's favor. gavel-952313-m.jpg

The case involved a Georgia woman who filed a lawsuit against C.R. Bard Inc., the manufacturer of the Avaulta Plus Posterior BioSynthetic Support system. The transvaginal mesh system was implanted in the plaintiff in an effort to treat pelvic organ prolapse, a condition that causes the organs in the pelvic area to intrude on the vaginal wall. Unfortunately, C.R. Bard's transvaginal mesh product failed to work as promised and caused serious harm to the injured Georgia woman.

As a result of the complications she experienced, the victim alleged that the company was negligent, that there was a design and manufacturing defect, that the company failed to provide adequate warning of the risks, and that both express and implied warranties were violated.

Transvaginal Mesh Case Resolved for Plaintiff
The Georgia woman taking action against C.R. Bard indicated that she had been seriously harmed as a direct result of problems with the mesh product. She alleged that she had suffered pain and permanent injury as well as developed a substantial physical deformity because of the mesh. Because of her injuries, she reportedly required multiple revisions surgeries.

The case brought by the plaintiff was one of more than 20,000 similar cases pending throughout the United States. Like the other cases, it was consolidated in a multi-district litigation, which means that one judge is able to hear multiple cases that are grouped together because plaintiffs were injured by a similar defective or dangerous product. The case was not a class action because each individual plaintiff maintains his or her own claim and seeks compensation for his or her own specific losses. It was, however, a "bellwether" case because its outcome could have an impact on future settlement or litigation.

The outcome of the case was thus important to the thousands of patients who are waiting to have their own day in court to hold manufacturers of transvaginal mesh responsible. Fortunately for those plaintiffs, the first bellwether trial had a positive outcome for the plaintiff. In fact, the jury awarded the plaintiff $250,000 in compensatory damages and another $1.75 million in punitive damages.

While this case does not guarantee that future plaintiffs making a claim will necessarily get the same outcome or similar results, it does bode well for injured victims.

Companies facing millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages may be eager to make a settlement offer with injured victims to try to limit the company's potential exposure to losses in a lawsuit. While injured victims can benefit from this, it is also important for victims to understand what a fair settlement offer is and to ensure that they don't accept less than they deserve.

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Stryker Awarded Contract for Hip & Knee Replacements Even as Lawsuits are Pending for Hip Implant Complications

In late August, Healio reported that the Department of Defense has awarded a contract to Stryker for hip and knee implant packages. The contract is for hip and knee implants, instrumentation sets and auxiliary products and it is valued at $85,469,865. The contract reportedly represents an agreement that sets pricing so the military can access needed products, but there is no guaranteed purchase amount required by the agreement. knee-replacement---side-view-1183622-m.jpg

While the contract will allow the military to access products and services as required, it is important to ensure that the hip and knee replacement products being offered to the military are safe. Our Boston Stryker implant lawyers know that there have been myriad problems with Stryker hip implant products in the past, with the problems so severe that a recall was actually required of the Stryker Rejuvenate in 2012. Hopefully, any future products provided by the company as a part of the contract with the Department of Defense will be safe products that live up to the manufacturer's promises.

Product Recalls Prompted by Dangerous Stryker Hip Implant Products
Stryker produced the Rejuvenate hip implant system as an alternative to traditional hip replacement products. Stryker marketed its products by promising that they would last longer and offer a better range of motion by allowing for more customization of the replacement joint.

With most hip replacement devices, there is one stem that fits inside of the femur and one head that goes on top of the femur to replace the patient's damaged hip joints. The Stryker Rejuvenate offered multiple heads and stems to chose from in order to make it possible for doctors to customize the hip replacement device to the individual patient.

Unfortunately, not only did the Rejuvenate fail to live up to the promise of being a better and longer-lasting alternative, it instead began to cause serious complications for patients. The Stryker Rejuvenate has a high failure rate, leaving many patients needing additional revision surgery within just five years of the initial hip replacement surgery. The Stryker system also can cause complications such as bone breakdown; tissue health; and a toxic build-up of metal in the body called metallosis.

Because of the serious problems, Stryker recalled the dangerous hip replacement product in 2012. Unfortunately, this was too late for the many patients who had undergone a hip replacement surgery and who were already experiencing complications or were left in fear that they will soon start to experience problems.

Stryker never should have released a dangerous hip replacement product onto the market and the problems that were uncovered once it was sold to the public should have been discovered during pre-market testing so the issues could be corrected or the patient's warned. The fact that Stryker did sell this product that turned out to be dangerous is an indicator that the manufacturer likely breached its responsibility to keep the public safe.

While lawsuits are still pending and the extent of Stryker's liability for injuries as a result of the Rejuvenate product is still unclear, one thing is certain: dangerous and defective medical products cause serious harm to patients. Hopefully, all the medical devices that Stryker is offering as part of its new contract with the Department of Defense will have been carefully tested and will not later turn out to cause unexpected side effects or complications for those who have hip and knee replacement surgeries.

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Second Transvaginal Mesh Bellwether Case Results in Settlement

Recently, our transvaginal mesh plaintiff attorneys reported that the first bellwether case in a transvaginal mesh lawsuit had been resolved, with the plaintiff being awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages and $1.75 million in punitive damages. Just a few short days later, WOWK TV reported that a second transvaginal mesh case settled. to-sign-a-contract-3-1221952-m.jpg

The terms of the settlement have not been released and are confidential, according to the reports. However, since this settlement closely follows the case resolved in favor of the plaintiff earlier this August, the cases thus far seem to be showing a trend of going in favor of the plaintiffs. Although past cases cannot guarantee future results, this could be a good sign for the injured victims who were harmed by transvaginal mesh devices.

Second Transvaginal Mesh Case Resolved
The second transvaginal mesh case, like the first, was brought against mesh manufacturer C.R. Bard Inc. The injured victim in the case asserted that she had been implanted with a C.R. Bard mesh product called the Avaulta Solo Anterior Synthetic Support system as a method of treating her pelvic organ prolapse (POP). The procedure took place in 2008.

Unfortunately, the mesh quickly began causing serious problems. The plaintiff indicates that the C.R. Bard product caused her to experience mental and physical pain and suffering; physical deformity and permanent injury. The mesh also reportedly caused an infection, interfered with marital relations between the plaintiff and her husband and necessitated that she undergo six corrective revision surgeries.

The victim sought damages to cover the costs of medical bills and to compensate her for pain and suffering and mental anguish. Additional punitive damages were anticipated, especially after the initial trial resulted in such a large punitive damage award by the jury.

The trial for this second bellwether case was supposed to start on the August 21st, but since a settlement agreement was reached, there is no need for the claim to be heard in the courtroom. The confidential settlement means that other injured plaintiffs who were hurt by transvaginal mesh products will not know what amount of money the injured victim received in this case. However, the fact that the case did settle before trial could potentially indicate that the company is going to be more amenable to settling rather than risking another multi- million dollar jury verdict.

It is important to realize though, that while these early cases have been good news for plaintiffs, there are another two bellwether cases upcoming that could have different results. As the WV Gazette indicates, there is a chance that the next trial will result in an outcome that favors the defendant.

The next trial is scheduled to begin on October 8 and has been described as a case that the defendant's picked because of the thought that it was a winnable case for the defense. Even if the defense is successful in the next claim, however, future plaintiffs with proof of the harm the vaginal mesh caused them may be able to successfully settle their claims or receive large damage awards from a jury who finds in their favor.

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Johnson & Johnson Reportedly Considering $3 Billion Settlement to Resolve Hip Implant Cases

Johnson & Johnson is currently facing more than 11,500 lawsuits throughout the United States. Our Boston defective hip attorneys know that Johnson & Johnson is facing these lawsuits as a result of DePuy hip implant products. The DePuy products are manufactured by a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary and, unfortunately, have a high failure rate and can cause patients to experience serious complications. tightened-100-dollar-roll-1377964-m.jpg

Johnson & Johnson is reportedly considering making a large settlement offer to resolve as many of the lawsuits as possible. According to Bloomberg.com, the company hopes to resolve cases arising from DePuy hip replacement devices by early next year.

Johnson & Johnson Settlement Would Be the Largest To-Date Related to Hip Implant Defects
DePuy, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, is facing massive potential legal liability as a result of its defective hip implant products. In 2010, the company was forced to recall 93,000 implants, an estimated 37,000 of which had been implanted in patients in the United States. The recall was prompted by the fact that 12 percent of all of the DePuy hip implant and replacement devices had failed within five years (a much higher failure rate than for other hip replacement solutions).

Unfortunately, the failure rate of the DePuy products doesn't seem to be declining but instead appears to be getting worse in recent years. Further, the number of lawsuits has also been on the rise, with patients suing to recover monetary compensation for pain and for the cost of replacement surgeries when the DePuy hip products fail.

There is some good news for victims, however. In the first lawsuit arising from DePuy hip implant devices, the court found in the plaintiff's favor and Johnson & Johnson lost an $8.3 million verdict. While the second lawsuit saw Johnson & Johnson prevail, the company still faces many potential viable claims.

Johnson & Johnson wants to resolve cases by compensating those who have been harmed, rather than by going to trial. The company is reportedly considering payout out a settlement of more than $300,000 per case. This would result in a total settlement in excess of $3 billion, which is 50 percent higher than the settlement offer proposed in recent negotiations.

If the $3 billion settlement were to occur, this would be the highest amount of money paid to settle a hip implant claim, topping the prior record, which was set when a company called Sulzer agreed to pay $1 billion in 2001 to resolve lawsuits against it.

Whether Johnson & Johnson is actually able to resolve its cases through settlement will depend upon a number of factors, including how many plaintiffs are willing to accept the proposed settlement and how several product-liability trials go between September and January. The first of the seven pending claims that could have an impact on settlement is scheduled to begin on September 9 in Cleveland. The judge in Cleveland is overseeing approximately 8,000 federal cases that were consolidated.

In the meantime, Johnson & Johnson has already spent approximately $993 million on informing patients of the recall of the defective DePuy hip implants. The company also continues to provide a reimbursement program to patients who have DePuy hip implants and who require recall-related testing or treatment necessitated by the recall of the dangerous hip implant product. The high costs and large potential settlement should serve as a reminder to medical device companies of the importance of ensuring that medical products are safe.

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Two More Massachusetts Compounding Pharmacies Closed

Compounding pharmacies have been making headlines a lot in recent months, almost always with terrible news.

The most devastating stories related to the New England Compounding Center, which is blamed for a meningitis outbreak that caused more than 50 deaths and another 700+ people to suffer injuries across 19 different states. However, the NECC is not the only compounding pharmacy to be in trouble for failing to live up to its obligations to patients. medical-equipment-1342025-m.jpg

Our Boston injury lawyers know that efforts are being made to change how compounding pharmacies are regulated because many pharmacies are not currently following best practices and safety guidelines. Unfortunately, a new report this month shows that tougher regulations and better enforcement cannot come soon enough.

Compounding Pharmacies Shut Down for Violations
According to the Boston Globe, two compounding pharmacies were shut down in mid-August of this year. The pharmacies were located in Quincy and in Norwood and were shut down after a surprise state inspection.

The inspection of one of the pharmacies that was shut down had been conducted on the second of April. According to a media relations manager for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the inspectors found that the property was non-compliant with a myriad of regulations. This included board regulations such as a requirement that prescriptions be verified and requiring specific handling for expired medications and sterile compounding.

Following the inspection, the Board of Registration in Pharmacy ordered the pharmacy to halt its operations. However, despite the notice to the pharmacy, it continued to operate, violating the cease and desist order from the court. A cease and desist was subsequently sent to a sister company for assisting in violating regulations. The Board of Registration also suspended the licenses of the compounding pharmacies and of the managers of the pharmacies.

This August, the hearings on the cease-and-desist orders and on the license suspension began. The outcome of the hearing could result in the compounding pharmacies being forced to make changes to ensure that they are providing reasonable protection to patients.

The inspections that led to the hearings are part of an enhanced oversight program put into place following the disaster at the New England Compounding Center that prompted the fatal meningitis outbreak.

The need for these inspections has become quite clear, though both state and federal regulators did little enough to protect the public before the high-profile outbreaks began. As the Boston Globe reports, there were 37 compounding pharmacies in the state of Massachusetts that were inspected by state inspectors since the enhanced oversight rules went into effect. Only four of the compounding pharmacies that were inspected were actually able to pass the inspection. This means that another dangerous meningitis outbreak or similar outbreak could easily have occurred at any one of these pharmacies.

With tougher enforcement of laws and regulations, hopefully the compounding pharmacies will begin to step up and provide reasonable health and safety assurances. The unannounced inspections will reportedly continue for an indefinite period, which could also help to ensure that compounding pharmacies take extra steps to ensure safety.

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Signs a Stryker Hip Implant is Failing

Stryker is a manufacturer of hip replacement products including the Stryker Rejuvenate. The Stryker Rejuvenate was recalled in 2012 because the replacement hip joint proved to be unsafe and to have a high failure rate. Unfortunately, thousands of patients have already experienced complications while many more who had the Stryker Rejuvenate implanted prior to the recall may start to experience health issues over the next few years. im-still-mobile-1114180-m.jpg

Our Boston hip implant lawyers know that the Stryker Rejuvenate has an even higher failure rate than many metal-on-metal hip replacement systems as the Rejuvenate had a unique design. The Stryker hip replacement product promised flexibility to patients by offering six different stems to fit inside of the femur and by offering a choice of 16 different necks. Unfortunately, this design has only served to give the Stryker Rejuvenate multiple ways to fail.

How Can You Tell if a Stryker Hip Implant is Failing?
The Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacement system can cause significant health issues, including tissue death and metallosis, which is a build-up of toxins in the body from the breakdown of metal. It can cause damage to the kidneys, lymph nodes, muscles, heart, nervous system and liver. The Stryker is also prone to failing within the first five years of being implanted.

Some of the signs that you should watch out for may indicate that your hip implant is failing or that other complications have developed include:

  • Discomfort in the hip or pain around the hip area.

  • Problems walking.

  • Inflammation.

  • The formation of a pseudo-tumor, which is a bulging collection of metal flakes and fluid that can form due to the metal of the Stryker hip implant coming off in the body.

If you experience these or other symptoms that indicate your Stryker hip implant may be failing, you should visit a doctor right away. A qualified medical professional can perform an X-ray in order to observe the position of the replacement hip joint and to observe the bone and joint.

An MRI or blood test can also be performed in order to measure the level of metal ions in the body. An elevated level of metal ions can be a good indicator of whether the Stryker hip implant has begun to cause problems.

Unfortunately, sometimes there are few symptoms associated with a Stryker hip implant failing until the problems become severe and until there is damage to the surrounding tissue or loss of bone. The longer it takes to make a diagnosis, the more damage is likely to occur in the body and the more difficult it is going to be to remove the defective hip implant and to resolve the health issues that the Stryker Rejuvenate caused. Regular screenings for problems, therefore, may be advisable if you had a hip replacement procedure using a Stryker product.

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More Evidence That Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants are Prone to Fail

Metal-on-metal hip replacement products were sold to doctors and patients with promises that these medical devices would be better than the alternative. Manufacturers who released these products said that unlike traditional replacement joints with ceramic parts, the metal-on-metal products would last a long time and be great for young and active people. 1031747_hospital.jpg

Unfortunately, our Boston defective hip attorneys know that not only did the devices not live up to the claim of being longer lasting, but they are actually more prone to fail than the other types of hip joint replacement systems. This has been confirmed time and again and now yet another study has come to light highlighting the high failure rate of metal-on-metal devices.

Canadian Institute for Health Reveals Problems with Metal-on-Metal Devices

According to CBC News Health, the Canadian Institute for Health recently conducted an in depth study on metal hip replacement products. The study was one of the largest to-date and it compared the outcome of patients who received a metal-on-metal hip replacement product with those who receive other types of replacement joints.

Researchers looked at more than 56,942 hip replacement surgeries that were performed throughout Canada from 2003 through 2011. These included:

  • Patients who had received a metal-on-plastic hip replacement (23 percent of patients who had a procedure during this time period)
  • Patients who received a metal-on-metal hip replacement (nine percent of patients)
  • Patients who received a ceramic-on-ceramic hip replacement product (eight percent of patients)
  • Patients who had received a ceramic-on-plastic hip replacement product (five percent of patients)

Of those included in the research, the vast majority of patients who received a metal-on-metal implant were under the age of 55, reflecting the aggressive marketing of the products to younger people getting hips replaced. Most of the metal-on-metal products were also implanted in either 2007 or 2008, as this was the time when the devices were most aggressively marketed and before reports of problems began to surface.

The purpose of the study was to determine the failure rates for each of the different kinds of hip replacement products. Hip replacement systems should last anywhere from ten to fifteen years on average, but since the metal-on-metal devices promised to last longer, they would have a very low failure rate if they lived up to the hype. Unfortunately, however, they clearly did not offer the lasting solution that was promised.

Although it has been just a few years since most of the patients included in the study had their metal-on-metal hip implants put in, many have already had to have the hip joint replaced. In fact, the study revealed that the metal-on-metal products had a 5.9 percent failure rate during the first five years after implantation. This was almost the 2.7 percent failure rate for metal-on-plastic devices.

Having a hip replacement fail is painful, and the surgery to correct the problem can be expensive and can seriously impact a patient's quality of life. Those patients who had their devices fail didn't deserve to experience these complications and should take legal action against the medical device manufacturers who released the dangerous products onto the market. With new studies surfacing regularly to reveal the dangers associated with these devices, plaintiffs should have more evidence than ever to build a strong case.

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