Lawsuits in the UK
Further to the presentation given by Professor Tom Joyce and Dr Pauline McCormack where it was highlighted that, in some circumstances, retrieved implants are merely thrown away I asked Jeremy Latham exactly what surgeons had been advised. He said that the advice from the British Orthopaedic Association and the MHRA was to send all MOM implants to an independent retrieval centre but that it is not compulsory. Apparently only the London Implant Retrieval Centre has funding (luckily mine went there).
There is also confusion in that, I believe, European Directives state that the implants should be sent back to the manufacturers but I think that unless they admit even partial liability (as do car manufacturers and others) this would be wrong and potentially biased.
From a medical and science point of view it is understandable that they would like to see a national, or geographic area, retrieval centre in order for them to carry out analysis on all of them to determine what exactly went wrong and why as it is only by understanding failure mechanisms that can prevent similar problems in the future.
Naturally, for those of us who have already suffered and are hoping for legal redress from the manufacturers if it has been discovered that their implants have simply been chucked then it would appear to reduce any chances of proving the implant was faulty. Although the Health Secretary (in a letter seen by myself) states that ‘some have had problems’ but don’t quantify how many ‘some’ are! We know that ‘some’ are many.
So please let me know, do you know where yours went or do you agree that this should be made compulsory that ALL implants should be sent to retrieval centres? Also who do you think should fund this?
I was contacted today (1st July 2013) by Mark Lampkin of Lampkin & Co to answer my request as to whether they were still able to take on new clients for legal action against all metal on metal hip implant manufacturers.
I appreciate his honesty where they have been inundated by the amount of people wanting to make certifiable claims and that sadly, at the moment, they are no longer able to take on more cases purely down to the costs involved for themselves as they deal with clients on a ‘no win no fee’ basis as well as manpower. Even though the rules to this changed at the beginning of April 2013 Lampkin & Co are taking a huge risk in following through the cases they have.
Mark has told me that they will be able to advise me if and when they would be able to take on new cases. For those who didn’t act within the reasonable time I advised them I can only suggest to keep tuned.
Wow, it’s all starting to heat up with legal actions now taking place in the UK. Now it’s the Kiwi’s turn and, at least, this article which was sent in by Sandy, explains why cases are being heard over here. These cases are for DePuy metal implants, let’s hope it’s not too long for DePuy and Smith & Nephew legal action here!
Thursday, May 9, 2013
The New Zealand Herald
London claim over faulty replacements to proceed to trial after challenge withdrawn.
Some victims have made a successful recovery but others have been left with serious disabilities needing expensive care after losing their ability to work.
More than 100 New Zealanders suffering from faulty hip replacements have won the first battle in a lengthy court case in London.
DePuy, a subsidiary of medical giant Johnson & Johnson which manufactured ASR metal implants, yesterday withdrew a challenge to the New Zealand claim.
The group is claiming damages for personal injury and financial losses in an English court against DePuy – which manufactured the metal-on-metal implants in Leeds – because it is unable to sue in New Zealand due to the “no fault” ACC legislation.
Most patients have had surgery to replace the failed cobalt and chrome metal hip and a few have had multiple operations. Some victims have made a successful recovery but others have been left with serious disabilities needing expensive care after losing their ability to work.
At first, DePuy objected to the New Zealand claim on jurisdictional grounds and a group of four test cases were to test this issue in court.
However, the English High Court dismissed the jurisdictional challenge in respect and there can be no appeal because of DePuy’s decision to abandon its challenge prior to the hearing – after the claimants, including a group from South Africa, had produced their evidence.
The case can now proceed to trial.
Hugh Preston, QC, an English barrister who specialises in product liability and personal injury, said his New Zealand clients had consistently argued that they were entitled to bring their claim in England.
“The claimants will argue that the hip implants supplied to them were unsafe.”
John Miller, a Wellington lawyer acting for the group in New Zealand, said the abandoned challenge was a “significant step forward for these injured claimants”.
“Many of whom do not believe ACC and the New Zealand taxpayer should be responsible for subsidising what they see to be the responsibility of a multinational company.”
The ASR hip was recalled in August 2010 when the rate of failure after six years reached 12 per cent compared to the normal 4 per cent. The failure rate in Britain has since been reported to be 49 per cent and Mr Preston said some experts are predicting all will fail by 10 years.
In New Zealand, 507 patients received the hip.
To demonstrate how metal hip implants have affected people globally we now have South Africans suing DePuy in the UK courts as they were unable, for some reason, to take proceedings over there. There are over 170 claimants so far. Apparently, Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, DePuy tried to stop these cases being heard over here but were rejected by the Courts.
Andrew Robathan MP who is a Defence Minister and former Special Forces solider is facing two revision surgeries after his DePuy resurfacing metal hip implants have left him with a tumour. He had the bi-lateral resurfacing done in 2006. Understandably he has the problems we have/are all suffering and is seeking legal advice.
I will attempt to contact him with a view to assisting us all in our attempts to be heard. I have great sympathies with his suffering but, as a Minister in Government , he may well have more interest in bringing the entire problems with all metal on metal hip implants to a greater audience especially as he now knows what it’s like.
I wrote to Andrew Robathan, Minister of State for the Armed Forces who expressed interest in the problems he and others are having because of metal hip implants. Whilst his Government position means he can’t join any campaigns he wrote back immediately expressing interest and support. At least someone on the inside of Government knows about our problems, and at first hand, (sadly for him).
Further coverage from BBC News
If it wasn’t so serious I would be laughing like a hyena! One law firm, whom I had signed up for them to represent me, sent off ID credentials and wrote a detailed analysis of what happened, who I saw and when including dates, hospital numbers and so on, have actually been in contact with me over a year later to check if I still wanted to make a claim!
Had I been considering a ‘personal injury’ claim (of which I’m not) then I would only have 3 months for paperwork to be placed in court so that wouldn’t have happened. The disgraceful point is had I wanted to go this route they had wasted over a year (I had initially signed with them in January 2012 go figure!). Ambulance chasers or what!!!
I would love to ‘name and shame’ them but I bet they would react far quicker than a traffic warden!
I can gratefully state that my new lawyers, whom I signed with recently, have already started to obtain my medical records so no flies on them! So be very careful who you sign up to represent you, if they don’t show signs of any action within 2 weeks and keeping you in the loop then reconsider. it will be your time more than theirs.
Do you think this legal firm contacted me again following Mr Kransky’s case in California? Let me know what you think.