Woman Suing over DePuy ASR Dies of Brain Cancer, Family Says Metal Hip Played a Role

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metal-on-metal-implant-hip-symptomsA woman who filed a lawsuit over Johnson & Johnson’s faulty metal-on-metal hip implant died of an aggressive brain cancer last week, The Time of India reports. Daisy Bharucha, who was 72 years old, had received a controversial metal-on-metal articular surface replacement (ASR) hip implant manufactured by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Depuy Orthopaedics after suffering a fall in 2007. Times of India reports that Bharucha’s family was shocked by the progression of the disease, and is determined to take the legal fight forward. According to her daughter Jeniffer, Daisy never had a pain-free day after the surgery.

“Her independence was everything to her. She continued to work even four years after the surgery, but it was never the same. She, of course, could no longer use public transport after the surgery. Taking a bus or train was out of the question as she could not even lift her leg without being in pain,” Jeniffer said to Times of India. Jeniffer says that she remembers how the implant made a crackling sound five months after it was implanted. “We laughed it off initially. Even people in her office did. The sound did not stop and her pain only worsened,” she said. Eventually, Bharucha had to go for a revision surgery in 2011 to replace her all-metal hip replacement with a metal-on-ceramic one. “Nothing changed much for her, though. She decided to file a case in the consumer court only because the surgery had made her dependant on others,” Jeniffer said.

Bharucha was diagnosed with a brain tumor last November. Her family was shocked by the news, Jeniffer said. “It popped out of nowhere during an MRI investigation. We have no history of cancer in the family,” she stated. Bharucha’s family believes that cobalt and chromium released by the implant may have impacted her health.

Johnson & Johnson globally recalled its ASR hip implants in 2010 due to a high failure rate, which forced many patients to get a revision surgery. The recall spurred a number of safety concerns about metal-on-metal hip implants, which can release metal particles into the bloodstream and local tissue when surfaces of the implant rub together.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adverse local tissue reaction (ALTR) can occur when metal particles seep into the bone and surrounding tissue. This can lead to pain, implant loosening, device failure and the need for revision surgery.

There are numerous lawsuits filed over metal-on-metal hip implants. Recently, Biomet agreed to settle a multidistrict litigation for $56 million.