Recent events and research studies have made it increasingly clear that metal-on-metal components such as those used in Stryker’s devices have the potential to suffer corrosion, release toxic particles into the bloodstream and cause metallosis, pain, inflammation and reduced mobility in patients implanted with Stryker ABG II hip replacement devices. As increasing numbers of patients have undergone the inconvenience of revision surgery to correct the situation, thousands have opted to file a Stryker ABG II lawsuit to secure fair financial compensation.
Facts about the Stryker ABG II Device
This product is categorized as a modular-neck type of hip replacement device, which boasts interchangeable parts designed to provide a customized fit for the biomechanical needs of each patient. While the implant itself essentially features a plastic-on-ceramic design, its neck-stem junction is rendered in a metal-on-metal design. The ABG II design gained FDA approval through the agency’s so-called “fast-track” 510(k) system, which has been the subject of intense criticism for its lack of testing and trial requirements.
Not long after its introduction to the U.S. market, Stryker and the FDA started receiving a startling number of adverse event reports centering on corrosion of the ABG II’s neck-stem joint. As a result, Stryker issued a voluntary recall of the devices in July of 2012. In May of that year, Stryker issued an Urgent Field Safety Notice to physicians and other manufacturers advising that the company’s ABG II hip implants implant were being linked to increasing product failure complications including:
- Dangerous levels of corrosion capable of releasing microscopic metal particles into the bloodstream of patients
- Allergic reactions in metal-sensitive patients
- Decreases in the bone density of patients
- Pain and swelling in and around the hips of patients
- Inflammation and tissue damage around the Stryker ABG II implant site resulting in restricted or limited mobility complications for patients
ABG II Litigation Grows
By September of 2012, numerous patients had already begun to file their ABG II lawsuits against Stryker, when in June of 2013; a multidistrict litigation process (MDL) consolidated all extant federal cases pertaining to these device failures into a single venue. Cases continued to mount in the federal MDL as well as in multicounty litigation in New Jersey at the state level. With no end in sight to the building litigation, in November of 2014, Stryker announced an agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle over 4,000 pending lawsuits.
Typical Allegations in a Stryker ABG II Lawsuit
While it is certainly true that each hip implant failure case has its own set of facts, there are certain types of allegations common to most, if not all Stryker ABG II lawsuits. Plaintiffs in these cases allege that Stryker Corporation negligently failed to warn physicians and the general public of the alarming failure rates seen in these devices. Claimants also argue that the company committed fraud when it touted the ABG II’s cobalt chrome and titanium neck and stem structure as being resistant to the forces of corrosion and fretting.
Stryker has announced its willingness to pay compensation to plaintiffs in order to resolve a high volume of ABG II hip implant claims. Individuals who are currently or who are yet to experience failure of their devices still have the ability to pursue justice and compensation. The damages sustained by these individuals are often staggering, leading them to seek payment for things such as:
- Medical expenses, including future or past hip replacement surgical costs, as well as ancillary medical expenses incurred due to the defective Stryker ABG II hip implant
- Loss of wages due medical or mobility issues linked to the Stryker ABG II device
- Reduction in earning potential for presumed future complications
- Physical discomfort and suffering
- Emotional distress
Considering how many patients received metal-on-metal implants such as Stryker’s ABG II system, it seems likely that litigation surrounding their failures will continue to make its way into the courts. As a patient, it is essential that you consult with legal counsel sooner than later to determine specifically what your legal rights may be, while also starting the process of documenting and recording the damages sustained by yourself as the result of the Stryker ABG II device.