In July 2012, Stryker, a leading medical technology company, recalled its Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck stems, which are used in many hip replacement surgeries. After several reports of adverse effects, the company became concerned about the long-term damage from fretting and corrosion in the product. Corrosion may lead to a variety of complications. These include adverse local tissue reactions and possible pain or swelling around the hip. Many early patients who underwent the surgery and used Stryker parts complain of pain and metal debris in their bodies from their devices. Unfortunately, thousands of patients were already negatively affected by the time Stryker could warn surgeons that the devices could harm tissue around the hip. As a result, the unknowing victims filed lawsuits against the manufacturer for damage, pain, and suffering the stems had caused.
Initial Hip Replacement Cases
Hip replacement patients began to experience hip pain from the implants shortly after they came onto the market. In addition, high levels of metal debris found in their blood have some patients worried about possible health hazards. Unfortunately, the number of affected patients multiplied quickly. Stryker claimed their artificial hips would last for years, but many failed within 24 months. Within a few months, at least 1,800 cases were brought forward and were consolidated before a U.S. District Judge in Minnesota.
These complaints should not have been a surprise to Stryker. All-metal hip implants tend to fail at higher rates than implants that use other material, such as plastic. A National Joint Registry of England and Wales study found 6% of all-metal hip replacement patients required revision surgery after five years. Whereas 1.7 to 2.3% of those who used ceramic or plastic systems needed them replaced.
Hip Replacement Recall and Early Settlement Negotiations
Due to the high number of hip replacement side effect complaints, Stryker recalled both devices in July 2012. After announcing the recall, Stryker began undergoing settlement proceedings and paying victims before going to trial. Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond product-liability law professor, said: “It’s odd that they would not try any cases and then settle so early in the litigation process. Sounds like they might have been afraid of facing even bigger liability if they didn’t settle now.”
After several months spent in mediation, attorneys reached an agreement in November 2014. (However, they subsequently revised this agreement in July 2015). As part of the agreement, a New Jersey judge issued a court order that all patients who received one of the Stryker products should submit basic information (unless they had already resolved their claims). The judge requested all patients to register by July 15, 2016, regardless of their desire to file a lawsuit, or whether or not they had an attorney.
Who Qualifies for Compensation
All patients who had Rejuvenate Modular Neck and/or ABG II Modular Neck Hip Stems surgically replaced before November 3, 2014, qualify for the settlement. Additionally, any ill patient who needs to replace the device but is unable to have the surgery is also eligible. Stryker claims that 95% of eligible patients enrolled in the settlement program, and patients began receiving compensation in July 2015.
It is important to note is that Stryker has not fixed a settlement amount for these cases. Meaning, each person who received a Stryker implant will have their claims reviewed individually. Then based on the patients’ injuries and settlement agreement, they will receive appropriate compensation. So, the more severe or unique the patient’s complication, or if they required more than one replacement surgery, the higher the compensation. Stryker has set a base amount of $300,000 per hip to each patient who had their hip replacement surgically removed.
Another important term of the settlement is a provision concerning complications. Upon obtaining your settlement, for the next two years, Stryker will pay for any additional complications that occur. An example Stryker shares in their settlement document: “if you obtain your settlement and in a year require a surgery to remove a cable that was placed during your revision surgery, you can still be compensated for that surgery in the future.”
The company allotted more than $1 billion to resolve lawsuits for the thousands of patients involved. Minneapolis lawyer Charles Zimmerman, who helped negotiate the deal, stated, “the settlement represents one of the largest medical device settlements with an unlimited compensation fund. We are pleased that we were able to reach a settlement with such meaningful relief.”
Compensation and Justice for Injured Victims
Stryker acknowledges patients received a faulty product that caused painful and potentially life-threatening health complications. As a result, the company put aside money for compensation. If you or someone you love experienced complications from Stryker hip replacement surgery, you may qualify for a cash settlement. To see if you’re potentially eligible within minutes online, get your free Stryker claim review now. Once you’ve submitted your information, an experienced attorney will contact you to discuss your potential compensation options for your injuries.
Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.