Firm behind faulty hips criticised over compensation conditions

A MAJOR US company which produced faulty artificial hips given to more than 93,000 people worldwide, including 3,500 Irish patients, has been heavily criticised after it insisted any refunds or covered repair surgery costs are dependent on the equipment being returned to the firm.

Less than a fortnight after DePuy Orthopaedics issued a worldwide recall of two of its most popular products, the company has told patients fitted with the ASR XL Acetabluar hip implant and ASR hip re-surfacing system equipment they will not receive any compensation unless they adhere to the conditions. Twelve Irish patients are believed to be considering taking legal action against the firm.

The multinational company has confirmed the faulty device, medical records and a signed consent form must be returned before the cost of treatment is re-imbursed to people who received the implants, 3,516 of whom are in Ireland.

The expense to these mainly elderly patients, which includes doctors’ costs, X-rays and repair surgery, reaches into thousands of euro.

However, despite the stance taken by the major US firm, specialist health legal firm Malcomson Law has urged both patients and any medical staff who may be asked to remove the faulty devices not to accept the conditions.

In a letter sent to 160 consultant orthopaedic surgeons, seen by the Irish Examiner, solicitors from the firm said DePuy Orthopaedics’ demands were inappropriate as the original hip replacements and any related medical records could prove vital to any defective product legal cases which patients could be entitled to pursue.

Malcomson Law’s Raymond Bradley said it is essential that the original hip replacement is preserved as evidence and is not returned to any potential defendant and is advising that patients not sign the consent authorisation for such action to be taken either before or during repair surgery.

The Health Service Executive says it is holding discussions with DePuy on the issue of how medical costs will be covered. Meanwhile, patients affected by the recall are due to undergo MRI scans and blood tests to establish if they require repair surgery.

They are due to receive appointments with their hospital over the coming weeks.


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