Farmer claims hip replacement defect

A 79-year-old farmer who claims he received an allegedly defective left hip implant has brought a High Court action for damages.

Patrick Walsh of Tinnislatty, The Rower, Co Kilkenny has sued DePuy International Ltd of Leeds, England.

His counsel told the High Court the metal-on-metal contact between the components of the DePuy hip replacement parts meant metallic flakes went into the blood stream and at one stage the levels of chromium and cobalt in Mr Walsh’s blood were “at a critical level.”

Mr Walsh has claimed that DePuy ought to have known of the alleged dangerous defect inherent in the product prior to his operation on October 1, 2007, and should have discontinued the use of the product prior to that date.

He has also claimed there was an alleged failure to warn adequately, or at all, of the risks associated with its hip implants.

DePuy has denied all the claims and contended the replacement hip was not defective and when the product was used it was in accordance with the approved level of scientific research at the time.

Mr Walsh has also lodged a claim for aggravated damages claiming the product should not have been used on him as it was claimed DePuy knew it had distinct problems which required intervention and that there was also a delay in treating Mr Walsh and he only had revision surgery after he went for a second opinion privately.

DePuy, he said, recalled the product on August 27, 2010, and a clinic was set up for those who had got the metal-type hip implants. When Mr Walsh was recalled, counsel Pat Treacy said he was showing no signs or symptoms associated with an adverse reaction but on testing, his cobalt levels were 13 times over normal and his chromium levels were seven times what they should have been.

An MRI scan in June 2011 showed a collection of fluid behind the implant and counsel said Mr Walsh also began to suffer other symptoms such as clicking and clunking of the hip joint and tiredness.

Mr Treacy said Mr Walsh’s cobalt and chromium levels continued to rise and by August 2012 were at “ a critical level.”

In evidence, Mr Walsh said he first had a hip relacement at the Lourdes Orthopaeadic Hospital, Kilkenny in October 2007 because he had been having hip trouble for five years.

The case before Mr Justice Kevin Cross continues.


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