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Over the past several years, patients who received hip replacements made by the DePuy Orthopaedics division of Johnson & Johnson have reported to their doctors that they’ve been suffering severe pain. Some patients spent years trying to convince their doctors that something was wrong with the artificial hips they had, while Johnson & Johnson spent those same years denying that there was a problem. DePuy recalled the artificial hip devices in 2010, amid rising failure rates—typically, hip replacements should last 15 years or more, whereas an estimate on these devices indicated that in five years, 40 percent of the patients who received it would need it replaced.

What Happened With the Devices?

The recalled device, known as the Articular Surface replacement or A.S.R., is now known as one of the most-flawed medical implants sold in the U.S. over the past few decades—the A.S.R. had a metal ball and metal cup, and as it wore down, it shed metal debris, creating particles that damaged tissue and, for some patients, caused crippling injuries.  The A.S.R. was implanted in roughly 93,000 patients beginning in 2003, and so far in the U.S., about 12,000 legal claims have been made regarding the A.S.R.s—about 8,000 of those claims involve patients who have already undergone operations to have the device removed and replaced.

What’s Next?

So far, only two lawsuits have made it to trial, with split results – in March 2013, a Los Angeles jury ordered DePuy to pay a Montana man $8M in damages, while in August 2013, a Chicago jury sided with the manufacturer. Now, under a new agreement announced in November last year, Johnson & Johnson would have to pay $2.5 billion in damages to those 8,000 patients, though medical expenses related to the replacement of the devices could cause that figure to rise to $3 billion. Payouts will differ from patient to patient, with patients who had the device longer receiving smaller settlements. Other factors may reduce the amount of the payment as well, including how old the patient is, if they smoke, and if they are overweight.

If you have experienced problems after a medical procedure, contact a personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer today.

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