The defense attorney of Johnson & Johnson attacked the allegations of former Montana prison guard Loren Kransky who claimed that his worsening health condition was caused by his defective ASR hip implant, motivating him to undergo revision. Jurors in the California leg of the DePuy ASR trial have been hearing the closing arguments of Kransky, whose case is the first lawsuit out of 10,000 filed to go in court this year.
Lawyer Michael Zellers argued before the Los Angeles Superior Court jurors that the 65-year-old Kransky�s ASR hip was implanted at an incline that was steeper than company guidelines had advised. He also said the plaintiff’s need for revision surgery was caused by an infection, rejecting the claim that defect led to the development of metallosis which is considered as one of the serious side effects of the alleged defective ASR hip implants.
Testimony in the trial included those offered by DePuy executives explaining that the ASR hip was tested in the laboratory at a single angle of implantation. Plaintiffs’ lawyers contend that they should have tested it using multiple angles.
“We know there is no perfect hip design. There are always trade-offs,” Zellers said, adding that the company designed the all-metal device with the aim of developing a longer-lasting hip that would show less wear than existing devices.
Zeller added that there is no medical consensus on what levels of chromium and cobalt, the metals shed by ASR hips, could cause harm to patients.
“Ultimately the product did not perform as DePuy wanted it to perform or expected it to perform,” he said.
All-metal hip implants were developed to be more durable than traditional implants with ceramic or plastic components, but have been shown to fail at a higher rate than traditional implants.
But then both sides in the case agreed that Kransky’s medical problems, including diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease and vascular disease, were not related to the ASR hip implant.
However, according to the plaintiff�s lawyer Brian Panish, the DePuy unit was well aware of the defects in its all-metal hips when his client, Kransky was implanted with one of the devices in 2007.
Panish argued that the design of the hip was defective, leading to the shedding of metal debris that caused tissue poisoning and pain as well as the need for the plaintiff to undergo hip revision surgery which is the reason why he requested the court that DePuy should pay $5.3 million for compensatory damages and $179 million in punitive damages.
“Any compensation should not be reduced simply because the plaintiff was more susceptible to injury than a normally healthy person,” Panish said
Johnson & Johnson recalled 93,000 of its ASR metal hips after determining that they were failing at a higher-than-expected rate based on an unpublished report by the National Joint Registry of Wales.
Author is a professional medical researcher, specializing on hip replacement surgery-related problems. For more related cases on DePuy hip recall, check the DePuy Recall News Center at depuyrecallnewscenter.com.
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