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Illinois Stryker Hip Plaintiff Alleges Heavy Metal Toxicity

An Illinois resident has filed a Stryker Rejuvenate lawsuit against Howmedica Osteonics Corporation, doing business as Stryker Orthopaedics. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of George Chivari on May 28, 2013 regarding the defendants’ Rejuvenate system, a hip implant, which is alleged to be defective. This case is currently proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois under the Honorable George M. Marovich.

Plaintiff allegedly suffers metallosis

On November 4, 2011, the plaintiff underwent a total hip arthroplasty, or hip replacement surgery. These surgeries are often recommended for patients with severe damage to a hip joint due to an injury or arthritis. An artificial prosthesis, such as the Rejuvenate System, promises to restore range-of-motion and alleviate pain. However, George Chivari alleges that sometime after his hip replacement surgery, he began to experience “significant pain and discomfort,” according to this Stryker Rejuvenate lawsuit.

The plaintiff’s physician performed diagnostic tests and determined that he was suffering from metallosis, which is heavy metal poisoning. Chivari underwent revision surgery on December 19, 2012.

The Rejuvenate System was first sold in the U.S. by the defendants in June 2008. It is a dual modular hip replacement device that consists of metal and ceramic components. The chromium and cobalt components, along with the titanium stem, were said to offer a safer alternative to other metal-on-metal implants. However, many plaintiffs have complained of heavy metal contamination that occurs when the moving parts create friction and release metal ions into the bloodstream.

Heavy metal poisoning can cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain and soreness
  • Swelling
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Heart enlargement
  • Increased risk of bladder cancer
  • Vision impairment
  • Hearing impairment

Other plaintiffs who have filed a Stryker Rejuvenate lawsuit have alleged side effects and complications such as difficulty walking, bone fractures, damage to surrounding tissues, and the formation of pseudotumors.

Defendants issued Stryker hip replacement recall

In response to reports of adverse events, including heavy metal poisoning, the defendants issued an Urgent Field Safety Notice in April 2012. This warning noted that there was a potential for corrosion and fretting, which could cause failure of the device, at the point between the neck and the stem components. In their earlier marketing efforts, the defendants had asserted that this type of problem would not occur with the Rejuvenate design.

Following the issuance of the safety warning, the defendants issued a voluntary Rejuvenate recall of the system in Canada. However, the defendants waited until July 2012 to issue a recall of all Rejuvenate devices in the U.S.

Stryker lawyer alleges defective design

According to Chivari’s complaint, the defendants issued a hip implant device that was allegedly defective in design. The lawyer charges that the defendants failed to adequately test the Rejuvenate system before marketing it, that the manufacturing techniques were substandard, and that neither the plaintiff nor his healthcare professionals received adequate warnings regarding the potential risks of heavy metal contamination.

The Stryker Rejuvenate lawsuit plaintiff is seeking compensatory and punitive damages against Stryker Orthopaedics for loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement, physical impairment, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. According to the complaint, the plaintiff’s medical complications are expected to be ongoing.