Smith & Nephew metal hips are the subject of a flurry of lawsuits in recent months as dozens of injured patients pursue legal claims related to failure of their prosthetic BHR and R3 devices. The hip implant lawyers at Jones Ward PLC represent more patients with failed Smith & Nephew hip implants than any other law firm in the U.S. in federal court.
With the number of lawsuits growing every week, a panel of federal judges has issued an order that requires Smith & Nephew to explain why the cases shouldn’t be consolidated in a proceeding known as Multi-District Litigation, or MDL for short. Jones Ward’s hip implant legal team will argue on behalf of plaintiffs before the panel at a March 30 hearing in Phoenix, Arizona.
Soaring Failure Rate for Smith & Nephew BHR Hip Devices
Jones Ward PLC is leading the charge in litigation against Smith & Nephew over the company’s dangerous and defective R3 and BHR hip devices. As many as 25 percent of women with BHR hips will experience premature failure due to metallosis, toxic levels of cobalt and chromium, and other symptoms related to the design of the device, which stands for Birmingham Hip Resurfacing. Jones Ward has filed BHR lawsuits in more than a dozen states, including Kentucky, Maryland, Wisconsin, Texas, California, Utah, Colorado, Massachusetts, Missouri, Illinois, and elsewhere. After years of mounting concerns, Smith & Nephew finally issued a recall for the dangerous and defective BHR device in September 2015.
Leading the Way
Few law firms are willing to take on Smith & Nephew due to legal protections linked to the manner in which Smith & Nephew received approval from the FDA to market the BHR and R3 devices. That’s not the case at Jones Ward, which represents more injured Smith & Nephew hip implant victims in federal court than any other law firm in the nation. On February 1, 2017, the hip implant lawyers at Jones Ward filed a petition with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate all pending federal BHR and R3 cases in a single venue. This will allow for greater efficiency and help to hold Smith & Nephew accountable for the hundreds of device failures that have forced patients to undergo painful and costly revision surgeries.
Why does the BHR fail?
The BHR device consists of a femoral head and a hemispherical acetabular cup made in a range of 12 sizes. The cup fits into the patient’s hip socket, or acetabulum, and then rubs against the femoral head during articulation (movement) of the patient’s hip joint. Both components are made of cobalt and chromium metal alloys, and thus are “metal-on-metal” hip implant components. Over time, the movement of the metal components inside the hip joint leads to tiny particles of metal being shed into the patient’s hip joint and body, which in many cases leads to bone and tissue necrosis, metal toxicity and the formation of pseudotumors. The problems associated with the BHR and the R3 liner are similar to the injuries caused by other metal-on-metal hip devices, which have been well documented starting with the August 2010 recall of the DePuy ASR device. Data compiled by the National Joint Registry of England and Wales show the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing device has a seven-year revision rate of 11.76 percent, well above the normal acceptable failure rate for a device of this type. Similar data compiled by the National Joint Replacement Registry of Australia in 2015 show the BHR has a ten-year revision rate of 14.5 percent for women. Other studies place the failure rate for women as high as 26 percent.
Smith & Nephew hip implant recalls
The BHR may be used as part of a hip resurfacing, or it may be combined with a femoral stem in a total hip arthroplasty. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) approved the BHR for sale in the U.S. on May 9, 2006, through the Premarket Approval (“PMA”) process for Class III medical devices. The R3 system consists of a femoral head and cup, with a metal acetabular liner separating the two components. These two devices share a similar mechanism of failure, and the FDA initially approved the R3 to be used as part of the BHR system. Smith & Nephew recalled the R3 in June 2012 due to high failure rates. The company later withdrew the BHR device from the U.S. market in June 2015 due to similar high failure rates, particularly in women and in patients with smaller hip joints.
How do I preserve my rights?
If you do not file a lawsuit within a certain amount of time, you may lose your right to compensation due to the Statute of Limitation. This deadline is different in each state, and it varies depending on the claims you are making in the lawsuit. For a free evaluation of your potential Smith & Nephew hip recall legal claim, contact Attorneys Jasper D. Ward or Alex C. Davis.