Litigation Over the Biomet Hip
In Oct. 2012, a panel of federal judges ordered that all pending lawsuits involving the Biomet M2a Magnum be consolidated to a single court in front of one judge.
The panel found that all of the hip implant lawsuits contained central issues regarding the alleged design defect and could therefore be combined as a Multi-District Litigation (MDL). In an MDL, a single judge will manage the litigation during the pretrial and discovery phase, which includes taking witness testimony and obtaining documents to be used as evidence.
This process saves both time and money, and allows consistent rulings in these cases. This order requires that all pending and future Biomet M2a Magnum hip lawsuits be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the North District of Indiana before the Honorable Robert L. Miller, Jr. At the time of this order, at least 57 Biomet hip implant lawsuits had been filed.What Problems Have Been Linked to the Biomet Hip?
The Biomet M2a Magnum hip implant has been alleged to cause a number of problems, including hip implant failure and metallosis. These problems stem from the device’s metal-on-metal design and its alleged tendency to release excessive levels of metal ions as its components wear, the Biomet hip lawsuits claim. High levels of cobalt have been measured in patients with metal-on-metal implants such as the M2a Magnum, and have been linked to a number of problems, including:
- Optic nerve damage
- Peripheral neuropathy
Like other metal-on-metal devices, the Biomet M2a Magnum is composed of a metal ball and metal socket or cup. According to the Biomet hip replacement lawsuits, these components will rub against each other over time, releasing tiny metal ions into the surrounding tissue and bone. It is believed that these ions can not only increase the patient’s metallic levels, but also cause tissue death, bone loss, swelling and pain. These problems may make it difficult to perform revision surgery to replace the hip implants.
To respond to mounting concerns over metal-on-metal hip implants, which have prompted thousands of lawsuits across the country, the FDA convened an advisory panel in June 2012 to discuss the dangers of these types of hip replacements. The panel of health experts found that there were few reasons to continue use of metal-on-metal hip implants, as evidence reveals that the devices can fail earlier than expected and put patients at risk for metal poisoning. The FDA has not addressed the issue of recalling the devices, but the majority of panel members stressed that there were few, if any instances, in which metal-on-metal hip implants should be used. The health experts told the FDA that patients experiencing pain and other symptoms should receive routine x-rays and blood testing to measure the levels of metal in their systems. Unfortunately, there is no standard diagnostic kit that tests for these metals, which include chromium.Biomet M2a Magnum.
If you or a loved one has suffered complications following hip replacement surgery, contact us today. You may be able to file a metal-on-metal hip lawsuit to recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and other damages.
The Biomet M2a Magnum is a metal-on-metal hip implant. One of the lawsuits filed so far alleges that the device was not properly tested by Biomet. Unlike other types of hip replacements, the M2a Magnum does not have the option of an acetabular cup liner. This allegedly causes metal to rub against metal with the full weight and pressure of the human body. The suit claims that as a result, excessive amounts of cobalt and chromium ions are released from the device, which manifests with symptoms of pain, looseness, dislocation, squeaking and popping sounds. The lawsuit also alleges that the body’s reaction to the metal particles causes fluids to accumulate and damages soft tissues and bone.
Metal-on-metal hip implants as a class have become the subject of safety concerns in the orthopedic community. Since they were approved using the 510(k) route, clinical testing was not needed before the devices were sold to the public. Now, studies show that metal hip replacements tend to fail more often than other implants.
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