The High Court in London has approved a Group Litigation Order (GLO) for patients who claim that their DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement has caused injury or illness. A steering committee of five law firms across England and Wales has been appointed to by the court to represent those affected.
Wales’s leading personal injury solicitors, Hugh James, is one of the five law firms appointed, and the only firm appointed in Wales. Hugh James is representing clients across the country but has seen an influx of people coming forward following surgery at some of Wales’s leading hospitals.
The DePuy Pinnacle metal on metal hip prostheses is known to have been used in Llandough Hospital in Cardiff, Princes Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, Morriston Hospital in Swansea, Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport and Glan Clwyd Hospital in Rhyl. The action is directed against the manufacturer, DePuy International Limited, rather than the hospitals that implanted the hip replacement.
Some patients implanted with the prostheses have reported suffering symptoms such as pain in the hip joint and groin as being worse than the osteoarthritis they previously suffered. Metal debris from the prostheses can infiltrate the tissues surrounding the implant thus leading to tissue damage and destruction.
There are currently over 300 potential claimants in the UK with many of them being in Wales. It is expected that more patients will come forward as they experience problems with the prostheses. All patients affected should currently be under review by their hospital.
Talking about the group claim, Mark Harvey, a Partner and Head of the Claimant Division at Hugh James, commented: “The DePuy Pinnacle metal on metal hip replacement was meant to last approximately ten to 15 years, but many patients have had to have their hips replaced again after just a couple of years. Sadly the revision operation is often more traumatic because of the damage to the muscle and tissue through the metal reaction. Many of these patients are aged between 40 and 85 years old, and are likely to have been suffering from osteoarthritis of the hip joints or fractures of the hip.
The injury is alleged to be caused by an Adverse Reaction to Metal Debris (ARMD). Each patient who has received a metal on metal hip replacement will need to be followed up by their hospital to check whether they have pain, check the metal ion levels in their blood and also have an MRI scan to check for fluid around their hip joint. If it is established that the patient is suffering from ARMD, their hip prosthesis will need to be taken out and replaced, usually with ceramic or polyethylene implants. As a result, as well as causing patients undue discomfort and the inconvenience of having to repeat the procedure, this also unfortunately means more work and the use of resources for the hospitals in monitoring each patient and conducting further operations”.