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Woman Suffering Pinnacle Hip Complications Joins Texas MDL

On November 2, 2012, a new Pinnacle hip lawsuit was added to the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiff, Tina Miller, claims she will likely require revision surgery to remove the failed hip implant device and have it replaced with another.

An MDL is designed to streamline the judicial process and prevent repetitive rulings. An MDL is different from a class action in that the cases in an MDL are heard by the same judge in the same court, but still maintain their individual nature so they can be settled if the plaintiff chooses to do so.

The Pinnacle device was approved by the FDA in 2000. Since then there have been hundreds of reports of painful side effects and failure.

Plaintiff has experienced pain, grinding and symptoms of metallosis

In 2007, Miller received the DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal device. The plaintiff claims that in recent months, she has experienced serious complications such as severe pain, feeling a grinding sensation, and hearing popping noises.

She has also suffered from symptoms of metal poisoning, also known as metallosis.

Metallosis can occur due to the metal components of the Pinnacle device rubbing together and releasing metal particles into the bloodstream. Symptoms of metallosis include swelling near the affected joint, inflammation, and pain. It has also been known to cause loosening in the hip joint and the development of tumors in the area.

Other patients have also complained of the same type of symptoms as Miller and added dislocation of the hip joint and necrosis—also known as premature tissue death. These issues are similar to those reported with another DePuy device, the ASR hip. The ASR was recalled by the company in 2010.

$5 million in damages sought

Her lawsuit states that the device is interfering with her daily activities and reducing her quality of life.

She seeks $5 million for what she calls possible permanent injuries, economic loss, disfigurement, disability, and emotional distress. She pursues exemplary, actual, and punitive damages from Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopedics.

Her attorney states that the injuries his plaintiff sustained came as a direct result of the Pinnacle hip replacement’s defective design. The complaint alleges that DePuy concealed from the medical community and consumers known defects, early failure rate, and unreasonable risks of having the device implanted. The lawsuit also says that the company continued to aggressively market the Pinnacle as a superior alternative for patients who sought to maintain an active lifestyle post-surgery. They also said that the device would last longer than other implants available.

Revision surgery may be required to replace defective Pinnacle hip

Miller is currently seeking medical attention for her Pinnacle hip problems. According to her lawsuit, a doctor will likely recommend revision surgery. Revision surgery is more dangerous than the original implanting of the replacement because there might be less bone in the hip socket for the surgeon to work with. Also, following revision surgery, the rehabilitation and recovery typically take a longer time to complete and are said to be more difficult for the patient.

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