Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ballooning Fund For Zimmer Hip Lawsuits Prepared to Burst

The Zimmer Durom Cup hip implant was first introduced in the United States in 2006, with a design that was supposed to avoid many problems associated with traditional hip replacement components, such as instability, limited range of motion and wear of the bearing. However, shortly after it was introduced, concerns emerged about a high number of Zimmer hip replacement failures involving the Durom Cup, where the component loosened and required revision surgery. A temporary Zimmer hip recall of the Durom Cup implant was issued in July 2008,
so that revisions could be made to the product’s warnings and instructions to ensure that doctors were properly trained on the surgical techniques needed to implant the artificial hip correctly.
Zimmer set up an initial fund of $47.5 million to deal with litigation costs involving the defective hip replacements, In 2010, that fund nearly tripled to the sum of $145 million.  No Zimmer hip lawsuit settlements are expected until late 2011 or 2012 as the Zimmer hip MDL proceeds. While Zimmer’s own estimates in 2008 suggested that some doctors experienced failure rates as high as 5.7%, some claims have suggested that the between 20% and 30% of people may experience Zimmer Durom Cup hip problems. Zimmer intends to reintroduce the artificial hip implant after they develop instructions about the special surgical techniques that doctors need to use to avoid the risk of Durom Cup problems.  They have also indicated that they will implement a new training program for U.S. surgeons.
In April 2008, prominent Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Larry Dorr, notified members of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons about the Zimmer Durom Cup problems he was encountering with patients who received the component.  Problems such as loosing of the components and a higher than expected rate of revisions were identified by Dr. Dorr. After initially dismissing Dr. Dorr's report of problems, Zimmer agreed to initiate an investigation of the Durom Cup problems in May 2008.  After reviewing data from over 3,100 cases, Zimmer concluded that  the technology and design parameters of the Durom Cup require a higher degree of precision than was common in hip replacement surgical techniques in the United States and that additional instructions and training should be provided to doctors before the devices are implanted.

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