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Patients seek payout on injuries from faulty replacement joints

by:Tory Shepherd
From:The Advertiser
April 14, 2010 12:01am

ADELAIDE patients are seeking compensation after replacement knee joints damaged their tissue.

The prosthetic knees caused cysts, inflammation and tissue damage and, in some cases, had to be removed, prompting a class action.

Healthcare provider Sportsmed, which is understood to have implanted several of the faulty knees, has written to all patients fitted with the faulty DePuy LCS Duofix Femoral Component asking them to come in for a check-up.

British law firm Leigh Day & Co, which has said in the past it knows of at least 13 SA revision cases, says the compensation claim for British and Australian clients will go through the UK courts where personal injury compensation is higher.

Adelaide man Ian said biopsies showed the prosthesis had left alumina particles (a medical material used to roughen the surface of the implant) embedded in his tissue.

`Six months after my knee replacement operation I started to suffer from painful swelling and cysts around the knee,” he said.

Other people fitted with the knee have told The Advertiser it caused extensive and painful damage to their flesh and left them unable to work for months.

Knee prosthesis manufacturer DePuy, a Johnson and Johnson company, has refused to say how many knees were used in Australian patients, but has said in the past, less than 10 had to be taken out. The company last year recalled the knee from sale.

Sportsmed surgeon Dr Greg Keene, in a letter to patients, said free examinations would be given to people with a Duofix.

“There is no urgency nor rush as it is likely if you have no symptoms now the component has no problem,” he said.

Johnson & Johnson is reviewing the cause of the knees’ failure.

Doctor Keene said surgeons were taking responsibility for the maufacturing error.

“We are in the process of a full recall of every patient who had the prosthesis,” he said.

Adding that Sportsmed had inserted about 300 of the knees.

“We are anticipating it will affect about 5 per cent.

“If patients are sympton free they haven’t got a problem.”

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