Do I Have a Defective Hip Implant?

This video features Chris Gilreath, a Medical Malpractice attorney based in Tennessee.

Tennessee Injury Lawyer Helps Patients Recover

Video Transcript:

Chris Gilreath:

There's a lot of investigative work that we can do upfront to help secure as much evidence as possible for your case.

Judy Maggio:

Is your hip implant at risk of failure? If so, how do you get help? We're gonna find out right now on this episode of ask the lawyer. Hi everybody, I'm Judy Maggio with askthelawyers.com, and my guest today is Tennessee attorney Chris Gilreath. But before we get started, a reminder, we wanna let you know that if you wanna ask Chris any questions about your situation, just visit askthelawyers.com, click the button there in the upper right-hand side of the page, it will say, ask a lawyer and ask your question. Doesn't cost anything at all. Good to see you today, Chris, thanks so much for sharing your information with us.

Chris Gilreath:

Nice to be here.

Judy Maggio:

Well, I know we're gonna talk about hip implants, and as I understand with hip implants and replacements, we're seeing some issues. Tell us about that.

Chris Gilreath:

Well, it starts out with the fact that over the course of the past several years, the number of hip implants has grown exponentially in the US. People are living longer, people are more active. Medical technology has developed, and so what's happened is that as people have developed medical issues with their hips, whether it's Osteoporosis, they have a traumatic injury or some other medical condition, and more and more people are receiving total hip implant surgeries. In fact, from about 2012, there were roughly around 25,000 first time hip surgeries that were performed. In 2019, that number rose to about 330000, so there's just a lot of people having hip surgery.

Judy Maggio:

Well, we are seeing a big increase, so is it all hip implants or just certain ones that are having issues?

Chris Gilreath:

Well, there...You can say that across the board, there are some limitations with all hip implants, but no matter who the manufacturer is, because it's a manufactured artificial product, there's a certain percentage of those implants that are essentially allowed for to fail or not work properly in people, and because there are so many more implants, there are more failures that are occurring.

Judy Maggio:

So I know there are some specific things that are going wrong. Give us some more details.

Chris Gilreath:

Okay, so think about the nature of an implant itself. It's an artificial metal implant that's designed to replace natural bone in your body, and you as the patient, people wouldn't necessarily understand or know this, but very few people actually have perfectly symmetrical hip joints. Most people's joints are a little bit different in size and shape and from either even just on either side of their body, and so that's really hard for a manufacturer to come up with a replacement that actually fits your body. And so the types of things that are happening is that the metal itself has some wear issues that occur, it's difficult to get an actual implant that perfectly fits your hip joint, and so sometimes you'll see loosening of the parts of the implant, sometimes you'll see that the metal wears unevenly. Some people report that after the implants in, may hear a squeaking sound, which is a sign that one of the parts is slightly offset inside your body, and on the more extreme side, you'll have cases where the implants actually break.

Judy Maggio:

From what I understand, there are some specific in issues with the Stryker implant. Could you talk about that?

Chris Gilreath:

Strykers had a number of problems with implant over the years, some of them had to do with the actual choice of metal, and it used to be that implants were made of titanium, which is a very strong metal, but it was more rigid than bone, and so as you move with your implant, the actual implant and metal itself would fatigue and create these micro-fractures, and so the metal itself would weaken and then you would develop loosening up the parts because the medal was leaking. Excuse me, the metal was weakening. More recently, the Stryker L fit V40 has become an issue and that has to do with the actual ball or head on the top of the implant that goes into your hip socket, those balls are actually coming loose from the rest of the implant, and so people are having an unusually high number of disassociations where the actual implant comes apart inside your body.

Judy Maggio:

So if people have these defective devices implanted in them, are they gonna need a second surgery or multiple surgeries? What should they do?

Chris Gilreath:

It's because of the nature of where the implant is, it's extremely difficult for a doctor to do externally manipulate your body to push the implant back together. They almost always have to go in and do a second surgery to correct the problem. And so if you have any sort of significant shifting of the implant, failure of one of the pieces, if there's something inside where the metal is corroding inside your body, and then the doctor has to go in, open a patient back up, clean out the area, either replace or take the whole implant out all together and replace it with something else, and there's very few times when it's possible to not have a second surgery when you have a significant problem.

Judy Maggio:

So Chris, if that happened, should the patient actually keep and hold on to this, this failed implant, the first implant they have?

Chris Gilreath:

Yes. Any time a patient believes that the problem that's going on with their hip is related to the implant itself, it's really important that the patient talked to his or her doctor, typically before the procedure and say, Doctor, I'm concerned about my implant, and when you get in there and you do what you have to do, will you please hold on to the parts? Because more times than not, if you're going to bring a case, you need those parts to do testing, you can't safely do while the implant is in your body. There are x-ray tests, there are microscope tests, there are other kind of non-destructive tests that involve radiation that's not safe to use on a human body, and so the only time that we can test to see how the implant has failed is by doing that testing once it's removed, and of course, that's not possible if the parts have disappeared and because normally if you go in for a procedure and a doctor removes devices that have been in your body, their normal, normal rules are, they're supposed to dispose of that because that's a bio-hazard for them, and so to keep their facility sterile, they would normally safely dispose of the parts, and so that's why it's extremely important that you talk to your doctor about preserving those.

Judy Maggio:

So does a medical device have to be recalled for a patient to have a case?

Chris Gilreath:

Technically, no, but it's extremely helpful evidence. Looking at the nature of a medical device case, we're normally saying that the device is either defective in its design or there was something about the manufacturing of that device that wasn't proper. And so any time you have a recall situation that is typically the manufacturer saying, We see there are a lot of problems with this device, we're gonna recall those to the factories so that no more people get exposed to those particular parts or implants. And it's not technically required, but it's good evidence that the manufacturer knows that there's a problem.

Judy Maggio:

So what is an attorney like yourself able to do to help someone, a patient who's had a failed implantable?

Chris Gilreath:

In my experience, most people don't know the name of the manufacturer that actually made the implant that they have, they're certainly not aware of what model it is, they're typically not aware of whether any of the parts of their implants are under recall and so in the first instance, Contacting a lawyer is helpful because we can help you make sense of what's going on with your situation and understand what your options might be legally, even practically on what to do. We're also used to speaking to doctors with some regularity, and so there's a certain language that we can speak with doctors to say, Look, to the treating doctor, here's the situation, and we'd like to work with you to recover the implant, help your patient and deal with the design issues in the implant, and so there's a lot of investigative work that we can do upfront to help secure as much evidence as possible for your case.

Judy Maggio:

This has been such helpful and informative information. Thank you so much for answering our questions, Chris.

Chris Gilreath:

Happy to be here, thanks, Judy.

Judy Maggio:

Well, that's gonna do it for this episode of Ask the Lawyers. My guest has been Tennessee lawyer Chris Gilreath. Remember, if you wanna ask Chris any questions about your particular situation, just visit as lawyers dot com, click the button in the upper right hand corner that says Ask a lawyer and ask away. Thanks so much for watching. I'm Judy Maggio with AskTheLawyers.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

AskTheLawyers

© 1999-2022 AskTheLawyers.com™

Terms and Conditions / Privacy Policy /
Report an Issue

Legal Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only. Use of this website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Information entered on this website is not confidential. This website has paid attorney advertising. Anyone choosing a lawyer must do their own independent research. By using this website, you agree to our additional Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.