In a lawsuit a man from the state of Texas has filed a lawsuit against J&J alleging he suffered severe metallosis (metal poisoning) from DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant. The plaintiff who filed the lawsuit is named as Brucer Bernier and the complaint was filed in the northern District of Texas on August 31, 2012.

It is noteworthy here that the cases of Metallosis were also found with DePUY’s ASR hip model but the device was recalled in 2010 amidst growing number of lawsuits filed against it. There are numerous lawsuits that are still pending in the court that alleged DePUY Pinnacle model of metal poisoning and some of which are class action lawsuits. Despite these allegations there has been no announcement of a recall of the Pinnacle model as of yet.

Metallosis or commonly known as Metal Poisoning is a common issue that appears with medical device implants in which metal parts of the replacement hip rub together and the resulting friction compels metal particles to scrape off. The released metal particles then consequently come into the blood stream and get accumulated into various tissues, bones and muscles which lead to physical complications and anomalies.

In the complaint filed in the northern District of Texas plaintiff has said that he underwent hip replacement surgery in 2008 and after proper consultation with his doctor and he was implanted with the Pinnacle hip. Bernier alleged that he was not informed of Ultamet /metal liner which has been reported to cause metal poisoning in many patients. The plaintiff has accused the manufacturer of concealing pertaining data that is crucial and bound to affect someone’s life.

In the allegations he describes that due to metal poisoning he suffered unbearable pain and disability to such an extent that he cannot walk without a cane and always feels as though his hip will give out at any moment.  The lawsuit also claims that he is likely to undergo corrective surgery in future which is harassing for any patient who seeks quick relief.

Bernier’s personal injury lawyer had argued that with proper testing, this risk could have been traced much earlier even before the device was put on the market and implanted in unsuspecting patients. Viewing the severity and long-term consequences of the metal poisoning the plaintiff and his attorney seek exemplary and punitive damages in addition to compensation for economic and non-economic losses.

In an attempt to put their claim in a more convincing and appealing manner the plaintiff put evidence alleging that the Pinnacle device was fast tracked to approval without rigorous safety testing and there are every possibilities that the danger of metal poisoning was over looked and not properly evaluated. In a fast track process a device can be allowed to get approval without needing it go through long and rigorous process of testing and evaluation provided the manufacturer proves that it is similar to another existing device that has already been approved. The plaintiff has furnished adequate data that proves that Pinnacle received fast tracked approval on the ground that Pinnacle was similar to a hip model that was approved by FDA in 1976. The complaint states since the device was fast tracked and has not undergone rigorous testing possibilities are that many of the hidden risks associated with it were overlooked and not evaluated.

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