Patients set to sue over 'painful' hip work

DOZENS of Yorkshire patients fitted with hip joint replacements are set to sue the company behind the product, which they claim has left them in excruciating pain.

A York solicitor's firm has taken up the cases of 56 people, 38 of whom are from North Yorkshire, who say they were fitted with hip replacement products manufactured by United States company DePuy Orthopedics Inc, which were recalled last August after being on the market for seven years following high numbers of complaints and high revision surgery rates.

Solicitor Richard Starkie, of Pryers, based in the Stonebow, which specialises in medical compensation cases, said only yesterday the firm was contacted by four people claiming to have been fitted with the faulty devices.

"The numbers are going up all the time", he said. "This group has suddenly become quite large and there are more and more coming out of the woodwork.

"A lot of these people have already been through the trouble and never knew why it failed."

The patients demanding compensation have complained of intense pain, swelling and difficulty in walking following hip replacement surgery.

Many claim they are suffering frequent dislocations or excruciating pain resulting from metal-on-metal debris getting into their bloodstream.

The two recalled products are the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular System.

DePuy statistics show about 12 per cent of patients who had received the ASR resurfacing device and 13 per cent fitted with the ASR total hip replacement needed to have revision surgery.

A DePuy spokeswoman said that 9,600 ASR hips were fitted in the UK and were withdrawn after high failure rates were detected in the UK national joint registry. "We therefore withdrew the two products immediately" she added.

"We intend to give affected patients reasonable and customary costs of testing and treatment.

"That includes the cost of revision surgery if medically necessary. We will also compensate loss of wages, travel costs etc."

Dr Alastair Turnbull, medical director at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said it was aware of the issue.