Expert testimony continues in week 10 of the bellwether trial involving injuries attributed to the DePuy Orthopaedics Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant.
The five plaintiffs in the case, chosen as representative of many others, allege the Pinnacle hip device caused painful complications: difficulty standing or walking; loosening of the hip implant; pain spreading to the groin and/or back; tissue death; soft tissue damage; and metal poisoning.
Metal-on-metal hips implants like the DePuy Pinnacle hip have been associated with high rates of failure and complications. Many recipients have needed additional surgery to remove and replace the defective implant. In 2010, DePuy recalled a similar hip implant—the ASR—and in 2013 the DePuy established a settlement program to resolve lawsuits filed by ASR recipients.
A number of medical and device experts have testified in this phase of the trial. Dr. Bernard Morrey, an implant surgeon who has taught at the Mayo Clinic for over 30 years, told the jury he has never used metal-on-metal hip implants for his patients. Dr. Edward Boyer, an emergency room doctor and medical toxicologist, was called to address cobalt/chromium toxicity exposure to ions and carcinogenicity. Dr. Boyer is a defense witness, whose compensation is reportedly $600 an hour. Timothy Ulatowski, an FDA regulatory consultant who spent 37 years at the Food and Drug Administration, was accepted as an expert in the regulation of medical devices. Dr. Thomas Fehring, a DePuy design surgeon, testified via video deposition. Dr. Roger Emerson, an orthopedic surgeon hired by DePuy to examine the five plaintiffs in the case, will be next to testify.