Contributed by KCR Partner, Stuart Talley
For most of our clients, the decision to undergo an initial hip replacement surgery was difficult. Now they are being told that there is something wrong with their hip and that another painful and risky surgery may be necessary. Our clients are confused, concerned, and justifiably angry. Unfortunately, the spin from DePuy has only added to their confusion and anxiety. No one is telling these people what exactly is wrong with their recalled hips, what the long term health consequences of having one may be, or what the chances are they will have to have the hip replaced.
Since we’ve been bombarded with questions on this topic, we posted detailed answers to some of the most frequently asked hip recall questions at our website. Hopefully this will help curb the massive wave of confusion and concern people are experiencing due to this major hip implant recall.
Many people think that if they are not experiencing problems with their recalled hip, there is nothing they need to do. Unfortunately, this is not true. The law requires people to file a lawsuit within a certain period of time once they “suspect” there may be a problem with their hip. In some states, this statute of limitations period can be as little as one year. Therefore, if a person waits until something goes wrong with their artificial hip, it may be too late to file a lawsuit, since everyone who has a recalled hip was recently notified that their hip was the subject of a recall. There is no doubt that DePuy is relying on this misperception to limit its liability.
Our product liability and personal injury lawyers have successfully fought against Johnson & Johnson and their subsidiaries for years, so we are well aware of the tactics they employ to minimize the financial repercussions that occur due to faulty products. One such tactic is requesting medical records of a patient. Once they receive the information, they attempt to make the case that any problems the patient may be experiencing with the faulty device are not their responsibility. This can impact the way the patient’s doctor views their situation, and adversely affect their case down the road.
It’s important to remember that in 2007, DePuy was indicted by federal authorities for paying millions of dollars in kickbacks to surgeons who used their products. During a major recall such as this, suspicion of DePuy’s motives are certainly justified.