Perhaps you, like many other recipients of a Stryker Rejuvenate or Stryker ABGII hip implant, are aware of the recall and wondering what you need to do to protect your future. The Sullo & Sullo Stryker hip attorneys have significant experience helping people just like you. Over 20,000 consumers received one of the Stryker recalled hip implants, and there are currently over 1500 lawsuits filed against the company. As the statute of limitations time limit in Texas draws near, it is likely many more lawsuits will be filed. Texas, as well as about half of the remainder of the states in the United States operates under a two year statute of limitations regarding product liability claims. Other states may have a statute of limitations of one year or even three years, four years, six years, or, in rare cases, ten years.
There are many adverse health symptoms associated with a recalled Stryker implant, including metallosis and metal poisoning. Before you have passed the statute of limitations—and even if you have not yet experienced any adverse health effects associated with your Stryker implant—you should speak with a knowledgeable Stryker hip lawyer in order to ensure you don’t miss this window of opportunity. You may be entitled to medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and, when warranted, punitive damages as well. A Sullo & Sullo Stryker hip attorney can help you to guard against missing such a crucial deadline.
What About the Statute of Limitations?
Although the statute of limitations generally begins at the time of a product recall, there are certain exceptions which may apply in your case. As an example, if you experienced no overt symptoms related to a Stryker Rejuvenate or ABGII until after the statute has run, you may still be entitled to bring suit against the company. In some cases, damage caused by your hip implant could be considered a continuing tort for the amount of time the Rejuvenate or ABGII remains in your body. The theory is the defective device is continually harming you, meaning your statute of limitations could conceivably begin from the date you were forced to undergo hip revision surgery. Rather than leaving your statute of limitations to chance, you should immediately seek the advice of a qualified Stryker hip attorney.
The Stryker Hip Recall
The Stryker recall was issued in July, 2012, only a few short years after the Rejuvenate and ABGII gained FDA approval (in 2008 and 2009), and began aggressively marketing the devices in 2010. Stryker claimed the innovative design offered by the Rejuvenate and ABGII would be perfect for younger, more active patients and would last much longer than more traditional implants—from 15-20 years. In April, 2012, Stryker issued an Urgent Field Safety Notification to hospitals and surgeons which stated the Rejuvenate and ABGII were more likely to fail, and that fretting and corrosion were possible in the implants, leading to excess metal ion debris being released into the body. Many believe the safety notification was merely an attempt on the part of Stryker to minimize their liability when the inevitable recall came.
The Innovative Design of the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABGII
Unlike other metal-on-metal hip implants, the design of the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABGII implemented a ceramic ball rather than the metal component implemented by most other all-metal implant manufacturers. Stryker believed this change would greatly reduce the likelihood of excess metal ion debris being released into the body. Further, an assortment of neck and stem components gave surgeons the ability to custom-fit the implant to the individual patient, according to the patient’s size and level of activity. The titanium femoral stem which more closely followed the natural contours of the femur bone was believed to offer a more even load transfer pattern to the patient, increasing the stability of the implant.
Going against existing research, however, Stryker mixed a titanium stem with a chromium and cobalt neck piece. In implants removed from patients, those which used mixed metals showed much higher levels of corrosion, yet Stryker disregarded all this prior evidence. After the recall of the Rejuvenate and ABGII, it was found that the small metal trunnions located on either end of the neck portion were prone to trapping body fluids, resulting in further corrosion and the release of additional cobalt and chromium ions.
Stryker Rates of Revision
Stryker stated in their field safety notification that there was a “reported rate of less than one percent for revisions potentially associated with fretting and/or corrosion at or about the modular neck junction.” The reality of the actual rate of failure associated with the recalled Stryker implants would turn out to be vastly higher than one percent. In fact, depending on which research you believe, the rate of failure for the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABGII may be as high as 65% or possibly in the 30-40% range. Either way, with numbers that high, it stands to reason that even if you have not yet experienced any adverse medical issues associated with your recalled Stryker hip implant, you very well may.
When defending their design during Stryker hip implant lawsuits, Stryker placed the blame for many of the hip implant failures squarely on the patient’s shoulders or on the surgeon. A patient’s excess weight or prior history of diabetes or infection was stated to “play a role in potential corrosion of an implant as these conditions may affect the pH of the tissue surrounding the implant.” Stryker further noted the locking or assembly of the Morse tapers could have been inadequate, the neck taper may have been inadequately cleaned, or the surgeon may have been improperly trained for the procedure.
Symptoms of Metallosis and Metal Poisoning
When fretting and corrosion occurs in a Stryker Rejuvenate or ABGII, tiny metal shards release from the hip implant, making their way to the bloodstream and into the hip tissues. The cobalt and chromium debris which burrows into the tissues can lead to swelling, chronic pain, degeneration of bone and tissue, implant failure and the necessity of revision surgery. Should those same metal ions find their way to the bloodstream, they can cause life-threatening health issues, including the following:
· Loss of short-term memory
· Depression, anxiety, irritability
· Reproductive disorders
· The lack of ability to distinguish sweet and salty flavors
· The development of pseudo-tumors
· Cardiovascular issues including heart attack and stroke
· Neurological disorders
· Renal and thyroid problems
· Gastrointestinal disorders
· Skin rashes
· DNA disruption
· Chronic headaches
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, it is important that you see your physician and have blood tests done to determine the levels of cobalt and chromium in your system. Your doctor may also order an MRI and x-rays in order to see whether your implant is failing or causing deterioration to surrounding bone and tissue. After talking to your doctor and taking care of your health, speak to a skilled Stryker hip attorney to determine if you have a potential claim against Stryker.
The statute of limitations could have serious bearing on your future claim against Stryker. Should you neglect to bring your potential claim before the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations, you could find yourself forever barred from proceeding with a claim, meaning you might be liable for all medical expenses related to a future revision surgery. A qualified Stryker hip attorney can help you to ensure you do not miss your window of opportunity.