Zimmer Holdings Incorporated, makers of the Zimmer hip replacement system, have been so plagued with lawsuits since the faults in their hip replacement system were revealed that they have set aside $47 million simply to deal with the payouts and settlements the lawsuits will necessitate. Some of the problems with the Zimmer hip replacement are so serious that patients need a risky hip revision surgery, or a second surgery in order to replace or repair the implant. This surgery can cause dozens of its own complications, and can even threaten the life of the patient.
Lawsuits against Zimmer Holdings Incorporated started being filed in 2008, when patients first started reporting problems with their implants. That same year, Zimmer pulled the hip implant from the US market – but has since reintroduced it, claiming that surgical error and not technological error to be at fault in this case, and requiring all surgeons to take a course on proper administration of the implant before using it in surgery. However, this does not stop the flood of lawsuits from pouring in – lawsuits are still being filed, and there is no telling how many of the 12,000 people who received the implant will complain of side effects and file suit against the company. Some studies have shown that, depending on the situation, as many as 5.7% of people who received the implant experienced failure. Patients have complained of hip pain, swelling, and loosening of the implant, all of which detract from the quality of life of the patient and in some cases cannot be remedied simply.
Although the hardware was approved in 2006, it seems as though Zimmer Holdings Incorporated has created a product that has caused gratuitous harm, potentially to thousands of patients. Despite this, they have reintroduced a potentially unsafe product to the US market.