The Birmingham Hip Resurfacing system made by Smith & Nephew is the target of a new 160-page lawsuit filed by the hip implant attorneys at Jones Ward PLC. The lawsuit in Maryland federal court details why the BHR system is defective and causes patients to suffer injuries due to metal toxicity and pseudotumors.
BHR defects revealed in new lawsuit
The defective BHR hip system causes patients to suffer premature failure due to symptoms of metallosis, caused by the metal surfaces of the BHR system rubbing against each other and releasing thousands of tiny particles of cobalt and chromium into the body. Jones Ward acts as lead counsel in the mass tort litigation against Smith & Nephew, knows as In re Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2775.
Jones Ward and other law firms represent hundreds of patients with injuries caused by the metal-on-metal BHR hip device. Here are some of the details in the 160-page lawsuit, which is part of the master amended complaint on behalf of plaintiffs with cases pending before Judge Catherine Blake.
- Female patients are particularly at risk of premature failure. The BHR has a 26 percent failure rate in women after ten years, but Smith & Nephew failed to communicate this risk properly to the medical community and to patients. The industry benchmark failure rate for a hip device is no more than 5.0 percent at ten years.
- Smith & Nephew promised the government that it would conduct a clinical trial for the BHR to ensure its safety, but the trial was delayed and hampered by allegations of criminal misconduct by Smith & Nephew, culminating in a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey on Sept. 27, 2007. Smith & Nephew later told the FDA that the Deferred Prosecution Agreement caused “significant time delays” in its efforts to implement the clinical study, due to additional contractual requirements for hiring surgeons to monitor patients.
- The inventor and designer of the BHR system, Dr. Derek McMinn, who was paid tens of millions of dollars to promote the hip device, presented biased and misleading data to U.S. regulators about the safety of the BHR. Along with McMinn, Smith & Nephew enlisted the services of professional athletes and celebrities in its efforts to promote the BHR system, including former NHL hockey player Tim Taylor, former NFL quarterback Steve Beuerlein, and former professional cyclist Floyd Landis. The most recent example of these misleading marketing efforts is a campaign by McMinn himself, modeled after the presidential campaign slogan of Donald Trump, to “Make Resurfacing Great Again,” through the use of a safer resurfacing device that includes a polyethylene acetabular cup, the PHR, which purportedly avoids the problems associated with metal-on-metal articulation in the original BHR system. McMinn explicitly states: “Together, this metal-on-polyethylene articulation is an ideal solution for patients, particularly women, who have an allergy to metals.”
Smith & Nephew hip implant recalls
The BHR may be used as part of a hip resurfacing, or it may be combined with a modular 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 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.
What is my Smith & Nephew hip implant lawsuit worth?
For many patients, the only remedy is to have the BHR device surgically removed in a surgery called a revision. Here are some of the typical medical bills for a patient with a defective BHR hip device.
- Medical monitoring and blood tests: $3,000 a year
- Revision surgery: $55,000 to $95,000
- Physical therapy and nursing home care after revision: $12,000
- Long-term follow up care: $1,700 a year
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. In Kentucky, for example, the deadline for a product liability claim is one year. However, the same claim in Indiana is two years, and in Florida it is four years. For a free evaluation of your potential Smith & Nephew BHR hip recall claim, contact Attorneys Jasper D. Ward or Alex C. Davis.