Exactech Hip Replacement Lawsuit: What’s Happening With the Recall?

This video features George E. McLaughlin, a Personal Injury attorney based in Colorado.

Defective Product Lawyer Files Claims Nationwide

Video Transcript:

George McLaughlin: 

It can be any combination of symptoms or no symptoms at all that are readily detectable by the patient.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So how do you know if your hip replacement could be involved in a lawsuit, and what do you do? We're gonna find out right now in this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest is Attorney George McLaughlin who's based in Denver, but handles these kind of cases from all over the country, and I wanna remind you right at the front, if you wanna ask George any questions about your situation, go to AskTheLawyers.com, click the button up on the top that says Ask a Lawyer, it'll walk you right through the very simple process or you can always call the phone number you'll see on the screen during our conversation. George, good to see you again. As always, thank you for helping us out.

George McLaughlin: 

Thanks for having me Rob.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So we're talking in this instance about the Exactech hip replacement inserts, tell me what the issue is going on here.

George McLaughlin: 

Well, Exactech is a medical device company, they make orthopedic devices, including hips and knees and ankles, but this issue is related to the Exactech hip, it's called the Connexion GXL Hip, and the problem is they're having issues with the polyethylene, the plastic liner that if this is your hip joint, your acetabulum, there's a cup in there with a plastic liner and then your femoral head, the metal ball or ceramic ball, goes in there and they're having problems with that plastic or ceramic liner, which led to a letter that went out to the doctors, telling them about this issue in June of last year, June of 2021, but also a recall of this product.

Rob Rosenthal: 

And what does the recall mean as far as people who have had hips replaced with this product?

George McLaughlin: 

Well, when you have a recall, it's done usually with the insistence of the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, but the company does the recall. But then it gets posted on the FDA website, so that it's there for the whole world to see and surgeons get notified of the recall. But what it means is that there's a problem that's been identified with the product, that could result in a person having a problem or an injury, this one is called a Class II recall. But when you recall a product, what that does is it brings back from the distributors, the device representatives, the hospitals that have these devices in their inventory on their shelves, it brings those devices off the shelf and sends them back to the company. But if it's already been implanted, it's too late. You don't go in and take it out just because it's been recalled, but now you've gotta watch to see if you're going to have a problem that may lead to a surgery where the device is taken out and replaced.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So at this point, what is the manufacturer recommending that patients who have these products do?

George McLaughlin: 

The manufacturers sent a letter, it's called a Dear Doctor letter generically, it's actually titled, "Urgent dear health care professional communication". And it's in red. Urgent dear healthcare professional communication and then it's a one and a half page letter, to the doctors telling them about the problems, and recommending that if they haven't seen their patient for several years time, that they should have the patient come in and be assessed. They should have x-rays done, the doctor should take a close look to see if they may be having a problem with their liner from this Exactech hip. The problem is that they get excessive wear of the polyethylene and then they get a condition called edge loading, where when your hip is rotating in the joint, it gets to the point where it hits the edge of the cup, and you can get excessive wear on the liner. If you have this situation called edge loading where your cup is being pressed with the metal of the head and it can cause it to dislocate if it gets severe enough.

Rob Rosenthal: 

And what maybe are some things that patients should look out for that might give them, hey, I may be having a problem with my insert? Is it pain, is it clicking, or what might be the issues?

George McLaughlin: 

It can be any number of things. Some people may not experience any symptoms at all but their hip is still wearing, and may wear excessively, some people develop pain in the joint, some people begin to hear a noise, a clicking, some people tend to have a looseness, whereas the polyethylene liner wears away, your hip gets loose in there and jiggles around a little bit, so it can be any combination of symptoms or no symptoms at all that are readily detectable by the patient.

Rob Rosenthal: 

There is some litigation, I know you've got a case against Exactech. Tell us a little bit about what this litigation is and who might be eligible.

George McLaughlin: 

Well, anybody that has an Exactech hip that the liner has failed and it's been removed and replaced, they've got a case. Most device manufacturers won't recognize a case having value if the part hasn't been removed and replaced. And understand, not all of these will fail. If you're not very active, an older person that spends their day playing bridge is much less likely to have a problem, than somebody that is active, that goes about their normal activities and plays golf or walks a lot, whatever. The heavier you are, the more likely you are to have excessive wear, so not everyone's going to have a failure of these devices. But if you do, there are a few things you need to do. First, you always have to follow your doctor's advice, that's primary. Do what your doctor is recommending. If your doctor's recommending a revision surgery, revision is remove and replace, you need to give that very serious consideration. I'm not a doctor and I don't give medical advice, but what my clients tell me, and their doctors have told them, is once this is starting to go bad, it's not gonna get better. And sooner or later, you're probably going to want to have it fixed with a revision surgery. Most people would say, "Well, let's do it sooner." Because you never know what the complications could be down the road.

George McLaughlin: 

Get it fixed sooner rather than later. If you are going to have a revision surgery, you really should contact an attorney before the surgery so that letters can be written to the hospital, asking the hospital to preserve the explanted parts. When they take out the parts, you don't want them thrown away. The doctor is not going to save them for you. That's not the surgeon's role, the surgeon takes it out and hands it off to someone in the OR, it'll go through pathology to be evaluated and then disposed of. You've gotta write a letter asking it to be preserved, and most attorneys will do that for you, no charge, just to be sure that your hardware, your explanted devices get preserved. Then follow your doctor's advice after the surgery but don't drag your feet in moving forward with your claim, there's no reason to delay. Once you've had an Exactech hip removed and replaced, save the hardware, get an attorney and file your claim. You're not going to just be contacted by Exactech saying, "Gee, we heard you had a problem. What can we do to make it right?" That's not how it goes. You're going to have to file a claim, file a lawsuit, to get just compensation for what you've been through.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Do we have any idea how many devices might be affected with this George?

George McLaughlin: 

Yeah well, we do, there were... The recall had 89,050 devices identified as being subject to the recall. That means they were distributed. Distributed in the US. They were distributed in the United States. What that means is they were put out there for implantation. From my experience doing failed hip cases for now more than 10 years, distributed means most of them were probably implanted. They don't sit around for years and years and years in inventory. These things are constantly being produced and distributed and then they get implanted within a relatively short time, so I don't know exactly how many have been implanted, we'd have to get numbers from the company as to how many were returned. Then you do the math and you can figure out how many. But there were thousands. Thousands of these implanted around the country.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Lots of really interesting and helpful information George, as always, thank you for making some time to answer our questions.

George McLaughlin: 

Thank you Rob.

Rob Rosenthal: 

That's it for this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest has been Attorney George McLaughlin. Remember, if you wanna contact George about your situation and ask questions of your own, go to AskTheLawyers.com, click the button at the top that says Ask A Lawyer, and it'll walk you right through the process or you can call the phone number on the screen while we had our conversation. Thanks for watching everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal with Ask the Lawyers.

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.


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