Stryker Orthopaedics is a medical device and equipment manufacturing company based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In late 2007, the company began selling two new hip replacement designs called the Stryker Rejuvenate Modular Primary Hip System and the Stryker ABG II modular neck hip system. By July 2012, both models were recalled due to concerns that their design was flawed, causing bodily harm to recipients.
The Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II are metal-on-metal hip replacement systems. They contain parts of chromium, cobalt, and titanium. Regular movements for recipients of the implants created friction that can release tiny pieces of metallic debris into the bloodstream and surrounding flesh, resulting in a condition called metallosis. Metallosis causes inflammation and pain within the tissue, as well as a dangerous high-metal blood count.
Recipients of both hip replacement systems should be cognizant of signs theirs may be defective. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and inflammation in the vicinity of the implant due to fretting and corroding of the metal-on-metal design. Signs of metal toxicity in the blood are impaired kidney function, depression, cognitive impairment and moods swings, rashes on the skin, hearing and/or vision impairments, thyroid problems such as weight gain, neck pain, and sensations of coldness, and cardiomyopathy, which is a disorder that causes weakening and enlargement of the heart muscle.
Pending lawsuits allege that the fundamental design of the Stryker Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II is flawed. Both products utilize a metal neck set inside a metal stem, which corrode after time through normal use, leading to premature system failure and resulting in several types of bodily harm.
Lawsuits are seeking compensation for those affected by the faulty design of the Stryker hip systems, including recompense for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses. Alleged victims are seeking to hold Stryker accountable for manufacturing a defective product and putting it on the marketplace. They also contend that Stryker was aware, or should have been aware, that their product was defective and unsafe for patients, and that they neglected to clinically test the hip replacement systems to ensure their suitability for the marketplace.
Other allegations of the lawsuits include Stryker falsely touting the systems as a “perfect fit” for younger patients, failing to warn doctors and patients of dangers, and aggressively marketing both products without informing of risks when safer options were available.
There are nearly 600 lawsuits pending against Stryker’s Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II systems. Due to the legal procedure called “multidistrict litigation,” the suits have been collectively transferred to a single court with one judge. This consolidative process quickens the litigation, saves time and money, and allows for consistent outcomes for those affected.
On November 3, 2014, Stryker announced a settlement with the patients whose hip systems had to be revised and/or replaced. The settlement was estimated at over one billion dollars. Qualifiers receive a base amount of $300,000 that may be adjusted upward or downward, depending on severity of injury, number of corrective surgeries, and other complications.