The Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) system, introduced in 2006, was designed as an alternative solution to total hip replacement. Instead of being replaced, the femur is resurfaced with a metal cap, while the hip is fitted with a matching metal socket.
Nearly ten years after the BHR was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, however, it was recalled after several patients reported serious pain and injury associated with the device. Investigations into these reports have shown that, over time, the device’s metal components rub against one another, leading to a buildup of metal flakes in the soft tissue surrounding the implant, leading to a condition known as metallosis.
Symptoms of metallosis include pain around the implant site, collected fluids that can resemble tumors, and a rash resulting from necrosis in the surrounding flesh and bone. Other symptoms, such as dizziness and fatigue, have also been reported. In some instances the implant has be known to become dislocated, which requires additional surgery to correct the matter.
Smith & Nephew, Inc., a medical technology company based in the United Kingdom and manufacturer of the BHR system, is currently facing several product liability claims in relation to these issues. In April 2017, more than 190 of these lawsuits were consolidated as multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the District of Maryland. For reasons of efficiency, an MDL is often undertaken when a large number of lawsuits share common questions about the issue at hand. Attorneys at Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball have been appointed to the steering committee charged with leading and managing the litigation.
With its extensive history and experience litigating product liability cases, as well as cases dealing with medical devices, the firm will play a key role in how the prosecution will be carried out.