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Johnson & Johnson and its division, DePuy Orthopedics, was hit with a $498 million dollar verdict today in federal court in Dallas Texas, for its defective Pinnacle hip implant. The case involved 5 plaintiffs, all Texas residents, who were implanted with the Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip device.

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Verdict was for approximately $130 million in compensatory damages and almost $360 million in punitive damages.

The trial team was led by Mark Lanier. Our office has been happy to place a small roll in this case and continues to accept additional victims of this truly awful product.

For a consult, please call.

A New Jersey Jury has awarded a South Dakota woman $3.35 million dollars in the first vaginal mesh case to go to trial against Johnson & Johnson regarding the Ethicon mesh, reports Reuters.

As reported by the New York Times, Johnson & Johnson/DePuy was aware of massive failures of its ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement system by 2011.

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This information is coming from internal J&J documents as part of a trial expected to begin to today in Los Angeles. The internal analysis showed that nearly 40% of the ASR hips failed within five years of implant. The analysis also suggests that the implant is likely to fail prematurely in thousands of more patients in the next few years. Those patients will have to undergo costly and pain revision surgery.

If you or a loved one have a DePuy ASR hip implant, please call us at 1-800-557-8176 or contact us through our website at hendricksonlaw.com. You may be entitled to a substantial damages award.

For more information on the DePuy implants, see here, here and here.

Many hospitals, and surgeons, are touting the benefits of their latest piece of technology–the DaVinci Robotic Surgery System.  This new piece of high technology allows the surgeon to sit at a video game-like console to perform many types of surgery.   Instead of performing minimally invasive surgery using  now time-tested techniques of laparoscopic surgery, surgeons are opting for the DaVinci system.  The claimed benefits are that the procedure is less invasive, has fewer complications, less pain and promises a quicker return to normal activities–all the same benefits derived from laparoscopic techniques compared to “traditional” techniques.  However, it is becoming clear that patients may be experiencing a myriad of complications as a result of the DaVinci Robotic Surgery system.

So how do the three surgery types differ?  In traditional “open” surgery the surgeon makes an incision and actually places his hands and instruments directly into the patient.  The benefits are that the surgeon has a normal view and can manipulate organs and structures directly with his hands.  The surgeon has tactile and other sensory feedback.  Most surgeons are taught that when they encounter complications using any other type of procedure, they can and should convert to an “open” procedure for the remainder of the surgery.  In fact, almost every consent form for either laparoscopic or robotic surgery will include permission to convert to an open procedure if needed.

The gold-standard for many surgical procedure in the last twenty years has been laparoscopy.  In laparoscopy, the surgeon makes several small incisions and uses these incisions to insert a camera and instruments into the patient to perform the procedure.  The surgeon directly manipulates the instruments but views what is going on in the patient on a video monitor.  Almost every surgeon practicing today was either directly trained in laparoscopy or has been performing laparoscopy for many years.  The benefits of laparoscopy are less pain and a quicker return to normal activities.

And now there is the DaVinci Robotic Surgery System, which takes laparoscopy to a whole new level.  The same types of small incisions are made in order to insert a camera and instruments.  However, once the instruments are placed, the surgeon does not hold them in his or her hands.  Rather, the instruments are attached to a robotic surgery platform and the surgeon sits at a video console and manipulates the instruments using video game-like controllers.  The alleged benefit of this system is that it allows the surgeon to make much more precise and controlled maneuvers, such that a 1/2 inch movement of the controller may equate to a 1mm movement of the instrument in the patient.  The concept sounds wonderful.  However, in practice, problems appear to have arisen.

DaVinci Robotic Surgery systems have been used for abdominal surgeries such as gallbladder remove, for gynecological procedures such as hysterectomies and for other procedures such as prostatectomies.  They are even being used for endoscopic procedures.

However, patients have experienced complications such as bladder and bowel perforations, injuries to the ureter and rectum, and burns and other complications.  One suspected problem is that the DaVinci system utilizes an electronic scalpel, called a cautery, to make cuts.  The makers of the DaVinci system, Intuitive Surgery, Inc., a California company, used a monopolar system rather than a bi-polar system to ground the electrical current.  It appears that this less expensive system allows the current used to make cuts to jump to places unintended by the surgeon, sometimes far remote from the spot where the surgery is occurring.

Complications such as bowel and bladder perforations and other injuries can be life-threatening.  Serious injuries or death can occur if these complications are not promptly recognized and treated.

If you or a loved one have been injured during a DaVinci Robotic Surgery, please contact T

Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy division may be facing more than $3 billion in damages for its ASR and Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants, reports Reuters. Not a surprise to those of us involved in the metal-on-metal implant litigation.

DePuy recalled the ASR metal-on-metal implant in 2010, years after evidence in Europe and Australia showed that these implants were being revised at a rate drastically hirer than traditional ceramic or poly implants. DePuy was forced to recall its ASR implants here in the U.S. after it became clear that a significant percentage of patients with these implants were experiencing metal debris reaction, which included pseudo tumors, infection-like reactions, loss of bone and muscle due to metallosis, early loosening and early failure.

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Shortly after the ASR was recalled, it became clear to many that DePuy’s Pinnacle line was having similar problems. As calls poured in to attorneys around the country regarding the recalled ASR, a significant percentage of the calls were for DePuy Pinnacle implants with nearly identical problems.

Multi-district litigation cases are on-going for both the ASR and Pinnacle implants. MDL cases are contemplated regarding other metal-on-metal implants from other manufacturers. In recent weeks, Stryker has issued a recall on its modular stem system, the first non-bearing surface recall. (The DePuy and Pinnacle cases involve the weight-bearing implant surfaces, namely the artificial ball and cup joint that replaces the natural hip mechanism–Stryker’s implant is a modular femoral stem system that appears to be causing similar reactions as the bearing surface metal-on-metal implants, but due to corrosion at the connection of the modular components, rather than wear due to use of the bearing surfaces.) You can read about the Stryker recall here.

It is clear that there is trouble brewing for many, if not all, metal-on-metal hip implants. If you have experienced any of the following problems as a result of your metal-on-metal implant, please call our office at 1-800-557-8176:
Early Revision
Loosening
Pseudotumor
Metallosis
Implant Failure
Loss of Surrounding Muscle
Continuing Pain

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The New York Times has reported that a Johnson & Johnson/DePuy hip implant that was sold overseas, was rejected by the FDA in 2009.

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The implant was new hip resurfacing implant. Unlike traditional hip implants, in which the ball portion of thigh bone or femur is removed and a replacement stem and ball are implanted, this particular implant left the femur largely intact and placed a ball shaped cap over the existing femoral head. Most importantly for U.S. medical consumers, the same pelvic (or ace tabular) cup portion of the implants, was used in both the ASR resurfacing system and the ASR system which was approved and sold in the U.S. That ASR implant was eventually the subject of a recall in August 2010–a full year after the FDA had rejected the sister-product.

Both systems are so-called metal-on-metal hip implants because they involve a metal ball and a metal socket. The apparent problem with the implants is that the design of the metal sockets are such that the friction between the two components creates metal debris which reacts in many patients and causes infection-like responses, destroying bone, muscle, ligament and soft-tissues, leading to pain and dislocations of the hips. The metal can also seep into the blood and, in effect, cause a type of metal blood poisoning. The only way to stop the effects is to remove the metal cup and replace it with a traditional plastic lined cup.

The DePuy ASR implants are the subjects of thousands of lawsuits around the country. Most have been consolidated into a multi-district litigation based in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. However, many cases remaining pending in state courts throughout the U.S.

In related litigation, another DePuy metal-on-metal hip implant, the Pinnacle, has also seen cases consolidated in a multi-district litigation, this one in the Northern District of Texas. Generally, the same metal debris problems are occurring with the DePuy Pinnacle implants as occurred with the ASR implants.

For more information on the DePuy ASR Hip Implants, see my previous posts listed below. If you or a loved one have a DePuy ASR or DePuy Pinnacle implant, or suspect you have any metal-on-metal implant, call our offices immediately at 1-800-557-8176.

DePuy ASR Hip Implants Recalled

Hip Implants Withdrawn From Market

Metal on Metal Hip Components Linked to Early Failures

The New York Times has a recent article on The High Cost of Failing Artificial Hips that does a good job of outlining the the cost related to the seemingly epidemic failure of the metal-on-metal hip implants from DePuy and others. If you’ve had a hip replacement in the last 10 years, I would recommend that you read it here.

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If you have a DePuy ASR or Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant, I would strongly urge you to contact me to discuss your rights. Even if you are not currently experiencing problems with your hip replacement, you should be aware of the pending litigation and what you should do.

To be clear, there is no class action currently pending for these implants and I don’t anticipate that there will be. What is in place is called a Multi-District Litigation that has some of the characteristics of a class action, but differs in many ways. The most important difference is this: If you don’t file a lawsuit, your interests will not be protected and you will not receive a settlement. In the typical class-action anyone who can be identified as having received the defective product will receive notice of a settlement. That is not true in a Multi-District Litigation.

If you have had a DePuy ASR or Pinnicle, a Zimmer Duron or any other metal-on-metal implant, please contact me immediately at 1-800-557-8176 or see my website at www.stlmedicalmalpractice.com.

The innocuous “instant soup” cups. You know what I’m talking about. The dry soup mixes that come in a cup and you simply add boiling water, let stand for a minute or two and “voila”–instant soup. This seemingly simple product is masking a very real danger.

Physicians and nurses manning burn centers throughout the country know all too well the dangers, as reported by NPR in its story “Why Burn Doctors Hate Instant Soup.”

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Multiple times each week, burn centers across the country receive patients suffering burns caused by instant soup. And the doctors agree–the packaging of the product is simply defective. The cups are lightweight and tapered to a smaller bottom and thus are easily tipped over, sending scalding contents spilling onto people, causing severe burns on the arms, chests and laps. And because noodles retain the heat longer, they can actually cause worse burns.

The answer is simple, say the doctors: redesign the package into a bowl like configuration that is not as susceptible to tipping over.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a defective product, please contact Todd N. Hendrickson at HendricksonLaw.com. for a free consultation.

Medtronic medication pumps are widely used to deliver pain medication, anti-spasm medication and other prescriptions directly into the spinal cord. And the FDA has determined that these pumps can cause serious harm. The FDA has issued a Class 1 recall.

The SynchroMed II implantable pumps, models 8637-20 and 8637-40 are the subject of the recall which has been reported here. A Class 1 recall means that these pumps have a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death. The pumps are failing, apparently due to a defective design relating to the battery.

These pumps are surgically implanted under the skin with delivery tubes placed to the point of delivery. Medtronic is not recommending that the pumps be removed and replaced at this point, says MedPage Today.

If you or a loved one has experienced a failure related to one of these pain pumps, or if you have one of these pumps implanted, you should contact our office to discuss your legal rights. Contact us at 314-721-8833 or at www.stlmedicalmalpractice.com.

The St. Louis personal injury defense firm, Sandberg, Phoenix and von Gontard, was at the center of a case in St. Clair County (Belleveille), Illinois that resulted in imposition of drastic sanctions.

SPvG represented Safariland, the manufacture of a ballistic shield used by a Belleville police officer. Sgt. Jon Brough was shot in the face by a shotgun five years ago and claimed that the ballistic shield he was using at the time was defectively designed. Sft. Brough lost his eyesight, sense of smell and was disfigured.

After a lawsuit is filed, the attorneys engage in what is known as discovery. This discovery is conducted under oath, and can consist of requests for documents, written questions, called interrogatories, and recorded question sessions, called depositions. The entire discovery process is based upon each party providing truthful answers and admissions to proper questions and requests. That is where the process went astray in Sgt. Brough’s suit.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Safariland’s attorneys, SPvG, engaged in “deliberate or intentional, systematic, dishonest conduct.” When Judge Lloyd Cueto learned of the misconduct, he took the drastic step of striking Safariland’s pleadings. When a defendant’s pleadings are stricken, the result is that the allegations of the plaintiff would then be submitted to a jury as true. In effect, a jury would be left with little choice but to find for the plaintiff. It can’t be emphasized enough that this is a drastic remedy that is only used in the most egregious instances of misconduct.

Immediately after the sanction was imposed, rather than seeking to appeal the judge’s decision, Safariland settled for a “substantial amount of money.” Our congratulations goes out to our colleague Bruce Cook who represented Sgt. Brough for a well-won battle.