DePuy Trial Update: Further Evidence Introduced On Metal Debris Risk
Since the first trial against DePuy and its parent company Johnson & Johnson for the faulty DePuy ASR metal hip implant began, the plaintiff’s attorneys for Loren Kransky have presented evidence that reveals that top executives noticed problems with the ASR hip implant long before they recalled the device, as reported by the Washington Post and Bloomberg News.
In an email message dated May 2, 2008, DePuy’s head of marketing, Paul Berman, stated, “We will ultimately need a cup redesign but the short-term action is manage perceptions.” Instead of recalling the ASR metal implant, Berman advocated that the company “keep the ASR 2 project under total wrap, particularly in the U.S. where [DePuy] will not make the change immediately…the competition will use this information against [them].”
In response to DePuy’s defense that the Kransky’s kidney cancer and diabetes were the cause of the implant’s failure, plaintiff’s counsel brought in University of California, San Francisco clinical professor Dr. Robert Harrison to testify.
Dr. Harrison testified that the emitted toxins, cobalt and chromium, were the cause of the DePuy ASR XL implant failing for Kransky. Dr. Harrison observed that the plaintiff’s normal white blood cell count and lack of fever during his surgery to replace the hip implant showed that metal toxins were the cause and not an infection from his underlying health problems, Law360 reported.
When Graham Isaac, an engineer that supervised DePuy’s hip-development program, was asked whether he considered 50 microns of ion to be safe, he believed “that would be high.”
Dr. Harrison testified that the California Poison Control System has set cobalt levels above 7 micrograms per liter are harmful. Kransky, who had his ASR hip implanted in December 2007, had a level of 53.6 on Sept. 1, 2011, or almost eight times the acceptable level, Dr. Harrison said. After Kransky had the ASR hip removed in a revision surgery in February 2012, his level dropped to 5 micrograms per liter.