Friday, October 14, 2011

Former gymnast sues over hip op

Bath Chronicle, England  October 13th, 2011

A former gymnast who was a "poster lady" for a hip resurfacing implant is taking legal action against its manufacturer after it left her in severe pain.

Penny Brown, who lives near Bath, is joining a group action by more than 300 UK patients against DePuy – part of Johnson & Johnson – after doctors said she would need further surgery because the implant had worn prematurely.
The Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) treatment was available to patients on the NHS and globally but was withdrawn last year in a worldwide recall.

Ms Brown, 51, agreed to advertise ASR after undergoing an operation in 2004 to relieve her from constant pain caused by osteoarthritis.

"I was advised to have the ASR resurfacing procedure rather than a total hip replacement on the basis that it would last much longer, be safer and reduce the likelihood of further surgery during my lifetime," she said.

Initially, ASR transformed her life, so much so that she agreed to become the face of the treatment for DePuy.

She said: "I was included in all the promotional literature and went on stage to give a live interview on my personal story as a patient and how the ASR had transformed my life.

"I was DePuy's patient brand and my image was used extensively around the world over a four-year period between 2004 and 2008. I even counselled patients about having ASR components implanted."
During 2009 Ms Brown started to experience groin pain, and by March this year could feel a clunking sensation when walking. The pain gradually got worse and she was eventually told in May that she would need corrective surgery as a result of the premature wearing of the ASR component.

Ms Brown said: "I couldn't believe it. It seemed so ironic that having promoted the product I was now a victim of the ASR. I have been living with constant discomfort, I can't sit or stand for long periods and my personal and professional life suffered greatly.

"I was a successful businesswoman at the top of my profession and never had any significant periods of time off work due to illness."

She said that since her revision operation last month she had been bed-bound and unable to work.
"My life has been devastated and I not only feel let down personally but also feel guilty that I might have encouraged others to have the ASR implanted."

Ms Brown, who has an 18-year-old daughter at university and lives with her 48-year-old long-term partner, is being supported by law firm Leigh Day & Co.

It is leading the case against the manufacturer and says the recall should have occurred far sooner.
A spokeswoman for DePuy said: "Our top priority is to provide Ms Brown and all ASR patients with the information and support they need. DePuy is committed to addressing reasonable and customary costs of testing and treatment for reasons related to the recall, including revision surgery if necessary, for Ms Brown and other ASR patients."

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