/ By Itzhak Dannon /
Sixty three recipients of an artificial hip made by J.C. Health Care (a subsidiary of the giant U.S. corporation Johnson & Johnson and a world leader in the fields of medicine and medical equipment) filed with the District Court in Lod, Israel, a lawsuit against by J.C. Health Care and DePuy International of the UK, both subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson who are engaged in the design, manufacture and supply of medical products and devices.
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The introductory portion of the complaint alleges that it relates to one of the greatest orthopedic disasters in history, on which heaps of words have already been written the world over about the faulty, toxic artificial hip of Johnson & Johnson.
Moreover, a parliamentary committee of inquiry formed in Australia issued findings on the appalling conduct of the manufacturer (Defendant DePuy) including considerable quantum of evidence collected in thousands of lawsuits currently in progress in numerous places outside Israel. DePuy’s company executives were suspended, regulations affecting the marketing medical devices were changed and medical practitioners’ unions and health care agencies in the world have opined as to the unbearable suffering caused to a group of particularly vulnerable patients by that defendant’s alleged malfeasance.
The lawsuit states that in March 2013 the first verdict on the subject was issued by a Los Angeles, California court where a jury found that DePuy was negligent in the design and development of the product, and that the defect had inflicted severe damage to a patient in whom it was implanted. That was the first verdict to impose liability on DePuy, based on its negligence, and awarded the 65 years old plaintiff $8.3 million in compensatory damages.
According to prosecutors, DePuy is collaterally stopped, by the California verdict, from denying a significant portion of the underlying factual basis of the current lawsuit for it stems from the same set of circumstances and the same faulty process that brought about the manufacture of the device at issue. The plaintiffs assert that they reserve their right to use the California precedent in order to establish liability and the requisite compensation due.
The complaint describes the affair as a chronicle of greed. It claims that the marketing of the hip replacement at issue was accompanied with false promises and misrepresentations regarding its qualities, which led to its implantation in some 95, 000 patients in the world, of whom 1, 150 were in Israel. According to plaintiffs’ allegations they were assured that the artificial joint is the most advanced of its kind, that it will bring its recipients complete relief and unlimited functioning for 15-20 years. However, the suit maintains, those implanted with the device soon began to suffer both pain and a high level of metal ions in their blood, caused by the decay of the implant in their bodies. They describe attendant problems in functioning accompanied by infections, tumors, fractures and the loosening of the implant, to the point that a return to the operating table was required in order to remove it and replace it with another.
Many of the recipients, the lawsuit claims, suffered for years while being sent by physicians to receive physiotherapy treatments, pain relieving injections, even psychotherapy for some.
Only after the percentage of repeat surgery increased dramatically, an astonishing fact became apparent, that the implant is faulty and instead of bringing relief it was causing significant harm.
According to plaintiffs, only after the U.S. authorities ordered the defendants to stop using the aforementioned implant did they, and with all haste, issued a voluntary recall, purportedly on their own accord.
After the recall most, plaintiffs either discovered that they had to undergo surgery to replace the defective hip or, those who have already undergone replacement surgery, discovered that it was the result of a defective device.
Out of 800 recipients of the faulty hip, who were located in Israel, about 120 have already undergone corrective surgery. According to the plaintiffs, defendants should agree to establish a mechanism to settle each one of the claims through mediation using of several mediators, a procedure that will save the parties and the court time and expenses.
Photo : Getty Images