A rise in the number of patients registering a high level of chromium and cobalt in their blood, due to microscopic particles being dispersed by metal on metal (MoM) hip implants, has lead experts to believe that there could be a sharp increase in the number of MoM hip implant compensation claims.
Advisors to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have recommended that new guidance be issued to all recipients of MoM hip implants, due to fears that many people who had the recalled DePuy metal on metal hip replacement systems implanted have not yet followed the advice issued in April 2010 to have an annual x-ray and blood test.
There are over 40,000 people in the UK who have had some form of metal on metal hip replacement system implanted in the past twenty years – 10,000 of whom received the recalled DePuy ASR hip replacement systems. Prior to the worldwide recall of the faulty hip systems in August 2010, the MHRA was already advocating that all recipients of metal on metal have annual checks for chromium and cobalt for a period of five years – more if required.
However the President of the British Orthopaedic Association – Professor Joe Dias – has claimed that only 41 per cent of patients known to have received a faulty DePuy MoM hip replacement system have had the results of their check-ups entered on the central register. Although he acknowledges that many may have undergone the annual checks without their results being communicated, he has concerns that many more may not have been contacted due to their original orthopaedic surgeons retiring and no follow-ups ever being made.
According to Stephen Cannon, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, not only can the microscopic particles be responsible for organ failures and neurological illnesses, but they cause tissue necrosis – making revision surgery that much more complicated and reducing the chances of success. Consequently, not only is the number of MoM hip implant compensation claims anticipated to increase, but also their value, due to reconstructive work having to be carried out before hip surgery can commence and the longer recovery periods that will be experienced by patients.
Also though not strictly attributable to medical negligence, claims for MoM hip replacement compensation should be directed towards specialist UK medical negligence solicitors who understand the emotional worries associated with this type of medical procedure.