Four of the 3,500 Irish patients fitted with allegedly defective DePuy orthopaedics hip joints have been given leave by the High Court to serve personal injury summonses on the US company.
Barrister Barry Lennon told Mr Justice Michael Peart his clients required permission of the court to issue and serve notice on DePuy Orthopaedics Inc at its headquarters in Indiana.
He said that Ann O’Sullivan, of Castle Inch, Bridge Road, Listowel, Co Kerry; Nora O’Connor, of Farahy, Kildorrery, Co Cork; James Bullman, of Nutley Road, Mahon; and Richard Murphy, of Carrigrohane Rd, Co Cork, would also be issuing personal injury claims against DePuy International Ltd UK and DePuy France.
Mr Lennon told the court that Ms O’Sullivan was suing consultant Karrupiah Mahalingam, of South Terrace Medical Centre, Infirmary Rd, Cork, who had carried out the surgery privately at the Bon Secours Hospital, Strand St, Tralee, Co Kerry.
Ms O’Connor would be suing consultant David Mulcahy, of The Private Clinic, Cork University Hospital, where she had a private procedure.
Mr Lennon said that all four applicants claimed in affidavits that they had suffered elevated cobalt and chromium metal ion levels in their blood following the procedures.
He said recent research by the UK’s medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency indicated failure rates could be as high as 50% after six years.
The HSE would be stated defendants in the two other cases where the operations had been funded publicly.
Mr Lennon made the application, which was granted by Judge Peart, on behalf of solicitors Ernest J Cantillon, which is representing a large number of patients mounting claims against the DePuy companies which manufactured, supplied, and distributed the defective products, globally recalled over the past several years.
A recent hearing of the Oireachtas committee on health was told by barrister Sara Antoniotti that establishing liability for ongoing pain and suffering may involve costly drawn-out litigation between the State (on behalf of the HSE), and the hospitals, consultants, and manufacturers.
She said that DePuy had made a payments offer only on expenses and costs of rehabilitative surgery but not on pain and suffering.
She asked the committee to press the Government for a solution between all parties.
The committee was told that patients suffered terribly when difficulties developed with the replacement hips and long-term damage may be done to organs as a result of leakages of chromium and cobalt.
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