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The New York Times is reporting, what we already know–the number of complaints about metal-on-metal hip implants is surging. And there is no end in sight.

“All-metal replacement hips are on a trajectory to become the biggest and most costly medical implant problem since Medtronic recalled a widely used heart device” in 2007. At the present time, the major problems appear to exist be with the Zimmer Durom and DePuy (Johnson & Johnson) ASR metal-on-metal hip implants. But complaints are surfacing with many brands.

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Patients are experiencing reactions, believed to be linked to the shedding of metal debris. Unlike traditional hip implants that use a ceramic or metal ball and a poly-vinyl pelvic cup liner, the metal-on-metal components have metal balls and metal cups. Reactions to the metal debris mimmick severe infections and can attack and destroy bone and soft tissue. In the simplest cases, the metalosis causes the components to loosen and after surgical revision, the patients are recovering normal function after revision. However, in some cases, the metalosis has destroyed so much muscle bone and ligament, that normal revision is not possible. These patients can suffer debilitating pain and loss of function.

If you or a loved one has had a metal-on-metal hip implant, you should immediately consult with an attorney. Please contact Todd N. Hendrickson at stlmedicalmalpractice.com.

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Dr. Richard Berger, a Chicago surgeon who was a long time user of Zimmer implants, has urged the manufacturer to recall some of its artificial knee implants, reports the New York Times.

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Dr. Berger was a long-time consultant to Zimmer on its products. He began experiencing premature failure of the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex Porous Femoral knee replacement. A 2010 study indicates that the failure rate after only a few years may be as high as 9%. The study reveals that 36% of patients implanted with the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex Porous show signs of implant loosening after only 2 years.

Zimmer has responded by criticizing Dr. Berger’s surgical technique, which is interesting, because over the years Zimmer has paid Dr. Berger almost $8 million to lecture and train surgeons in how to use and implant this and other Zimmer products.

To date, Zimmer has refused to order a recall. However, litigation is underway against Zimmer for these high failure rates. If you have a Zimmer knee implant and have experienced knee stiffness, knee pain, diminished motion in the joint, difficulty with weight bearing, have been told that your implant is loose or that you need a revision, you may have a claim against Zimmer for this defective product.

Contact Todd N. Hendrickson at HendricksonLaw.com or 314-721-8833 or toll free at 1-800-557-8176 for a free consultation.

Early this year, the American Association for Justice, the nation’s premier trial law organization, put out it’s report Medical Negligence: The Role of America’s Civil Justice System in Protecting Patients’ Rights. This report relies upon published data from unbiased sources, such as the Institute of Medicine, the Congressional Budget Office, the New England Journal of Medicine, Archives of Surgery, the Office of the Inspector General and many other organization, to clearly show that there is no crisis in the U.S. of too many lawsuits. The crisis is too much medical negligence.

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A few facts:

Medical Negligence kills 98,000 patients per year. That is more than diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, Influenza and Pneumonia. Only heart disease, cancer stroke and pulmonary conditions kill more people than malpractice. Hundreds of thousands more suffer injuries.

The cost of medical malpractice suits amounts to less than 1% of the money spent on medicine in this country. In fact, only 0.3%. Government administration amounts to 10.5% of the cost. Hospitals and physicians invest 200 times more into their facilities than they pay out in medical malpractice.

Between 2004 and 2006, it is estimated that 238,337 people died as the result of medical malpractice. In that same period, only 38,363 payouts were made to victims of medical malpractice.

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80% of the victims of medical malpractice suffer death, or major or substantial injuries as a result of medical negligence. 3% suffer no injury at all and 17% suffer minor injuries.

Caps on payouts in lawsuits DO NOT make doctors flee those states that do not have caps, as many would have you believe. In fact, states without medical malpractice lawsuit limits have an average of 349 doctors per 100,000 citizens. In states with caps, that number drops to 288.

Doctors are not benefitting from limits and restrictions on lawsuits, malpractice insurance companies are. From 2000 to 2006 the amount that malpractice insurance carriers have collected from doctors has gone up 121%. In that same period, the amount they have paid out on claims has gone down by 15%. As always, the insurance companies are profiting, not anyone else.

Our civil justice system protects patients. Fight to keep this vital check on medical errors.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch, in an in-depth article, reported that St. Anthony’s Medical Center in south St. Louis County, failed to report Dr. Surendra Chaganti to the Missouri State Board of Healing Arts, the state board that “regulates” doctors.

Dr. Chaganti, apparently one of the busiest psychiatrists in St. Louis County, was accused of negligent care of multiple patients, according to the Post Dispatch story. When St. Anthony’s took action to revoke his hospital privileges, Dr. Chaganti responded by suing St. Anthony’s. Dr. Chaganti was represented in the suit by his brother, attorney Naren Chaganti. Attorney Chaganti also represented his brother in several other lawsuits brought against others who accused Dr. Chaganti of improper care. The suit against St. Anthony’s was ultimately settled with an agreement that Dr. Chaganti would resign his privileges but St. Anthony’s would not report his resignation or their action to the National Practitioner’s Data Bank, a federally mandated repository for information on doctor discipline and malpractice. The data bank is not available to the general public, but hospitals and malpractice insurers have access and use the information in making decisions regarding whether to grant privileges or offer insurance.

The problems with reporting physicians for sub-optimal care are myriad, but in this particular case two specific problems are highlighted. First, St. Anthony’s entered into an agreement, which was approved by a judge, to not report Dr. Chaganti to the data base. By the data base’s definitions, reporting should have occurred. Resignations made after action is taken to revoke privileges is a reportable event and St. Anthony’s should have reported him. Their failure to do so apparently only came to light after a series of events in which Dr. Chaganti attempted to obtain privileges elsewhere and the other hospitals suspected or discovered the failure to report.

The second problem this highlights is the fact that the National Practitioner Data Bank is kept secret from those who would most benefit from being able to know if a doctor has been found to have given bad patient care–patients! By keeping this information secret, the public is being deprived of its right to make an informed decision.

You can read the complete Post Dispatch story here.

Byetta, a drug used to treat Type II diabetis, is suspected of causing hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis in numerous patients. As a result, the FDA has issued an alert. Byetta is given by injection. If you are taking Byetta, you should immediately discuss this information with your physician. Information for your doctor can be found here.If you suspect that you or a loved one has been injured as a result of using Byetta or any other drug or as a result of medical malpractice, please contact Todd N. Hendrickson.