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MailTribune.com
  • Hip-replacement lawsuits continue to increase locally

  • ACentral Point man who had heavy metals enter his bloodstream from his hip-replacement device is joining nearly 100 others locally who have filed lawsuits against the device manufacturer.
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    • More hip-replacement lawsuits
      A lawsuit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court Tuesday against a Stryker brand hip-replacement device is unrelated to legal actions against Johnson & Johnson, which settled with the state of Orego...
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      More hip-replacement lawsuits
      A lawsuit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court Tuesday against a Stryker brand hip-replacement device is unrelated to legal actions against Johnson & Johnson, which settled with the state of Oregon Wednesday over its ASR hip.

      It was announced Wednesday that Johnson & Johnson will pay Oregon $4 million to resolve deceptive marketing claims over recalled metal-on-metal hip implants, and the agreement may lead the way for additional accords as federal and multi-state probes continue into the company's sales of the device.

      "Oregonians in need of a hip replacement deserve to know that the artificial hip they are contemplating in fact has the qualities, and benefits, that a company advertises," Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a statement Wednesday. "Doctors also need to know that the products they suggest to their patients meet certain standards."
  • ACentral Point man who had heavy metals enter his bloodstream from his hip-replacement device is joining nearly 100 others locally who have filed lawsuits against the device manufacturer.
    According to a lawsuit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court Tuesday, Keith Cadwallader had a Stryker brand hip-replacement device implanted in December 2011 at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. Within months, doctors discovered that the device was causing large amounts of toxic metal ions and particles to be released into Cadwallader's bloodstream and circulate through his organs, the claim states.
    In July 2012, the device — after nearly four years on the market and being implanted in 53,000 people — was recalled by the company, according to the claim.
    After suffering ongoing pain, swelling and discomfort from the metal corrosion, Cadwallader had the device removed in November 2013.
    Cadwallader is suing Stryker Orthopedics for $5.1 million, claiming that Stryker was aware of the possible metal corrosion yet kept selling the device.
    "It's not that the device itself doesn't replace the original hip — it does, but they are harming people," said Dennis Black, of Black Chapman Webber & Stevens, the Medford law firm representing Cadwallader. "They're basically releasing heavy metals into people's systems."
    Black's firm and Portland lawyer Jeffrey A. Bowersox are working together to represent nearly 100 patients in Southern Oregon who have used the specific Stryker products — the Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II, both components of hip-replacement devices.
    Even those who haven't had their implanted hip replaced are still subject to ongoing MRIs and blood work to check whether metal ions are entering their tissue or bloodstream.
    "Some of (the devices) have yet to fail, but some started failing as soon as they were installed," said Black.
    The claim states that Stryker advertised that the metal used in some parts of its hip-replacement devices was a patented titanium alloy tested and proven not to corrode. The specific devices that used this metal were introduced to the market in 2009, just as another hip system used by Stryker with the same metal components was being recalled for metal corrosion.
    "Defendants continued to utilize the materials in the manufacture of the defective device, in reckless disregard for the safety of patients like (the) plaintiff," the claim states.
    A media representative from Stryker said they would need to review the case specifically before commenting and was not immediately available to speak about it.
    Cadwallader is asking for a jury trial to decide whether Stryker should be held liable for a manufacturing defect, design defect, failure to warn, negligence and breach of warranties.
    To compensate for the pain, injuries, sleeplessness, worry and past and future medical expenses, Cadwallader is seeking $5.1 million.
    Nationwide, about 2,000 other cases have been filed against Stryker's Rejuvenate and ABG II device parts, according to the Defective Hip Settlement Center, a website run by a Sacramento law firm handling many of the cases. The first cases won't head to trial until July 2015, according to the center website.
    Teresa Ristow is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email her at teresa.ristow@gmail.com.
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