Woman Sues over hip implant device

star adviser

By Nelson Daranciang

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 27, 2010

Jacqueline Lum is the first person in Hawaii to sue over problems she is having with a hip implant device recalled this summer by manufacturer DePuy Orthopaedics.

Lum, 51, filed her lawsuit in federal court Tuesday.

She had surgery in August 2009 to replace her left hip. She said she started feeling pain about three months later.

"It's really bad. I can stand up, sit up on a chair, (but) it hurts. (To) sleep at night I need to take medications to help take the pain away," she said.

DePuy issued a voluntary recall for two of its hip replacement products in August. Lum is having surgery next month to replace the recalled implant.

DePuy, a division of Johnson & Johnson, recalled the products after data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales showed about 1 in 8 patients who received the implants needed corrective surgeries within five years. The devices were expected to last 15 years before needing correction or replacement.

About 93,000 patients have already received the two devices worldwide.

Lum's attorney, Rick Fried, said the metal ball-and-socket joint wears prematurely, creating microscopic cobalt and chromium debris, which can cause damage to surrounding bone and tissue. He said the concentration of cobalt in Lum's system is 30 times normal and that the concentration of chromium is 10 times normal.

Fried said DePuy knew there was a problem with its hip implants well before it received data from the British registry in April. Officials from the Australian National Joint Replacement Registry reported problems with the devices as early as 2007. In response, he said, DePuy withdrew the products from Australia last year but continued to sell them elsewhere.