Sunday, January 8, 2012

Can you have your explanted hip examined if you have not retained an attorney?

 Most times, an attorney arranges  a 3rd party lab  to examine the explant and report findings of the hip. As you know, I have not yet retained an attorney so what is the process if you have no attorney?

First, it is very important to know that your hip has been retained by the hospital if your revision surgery has occurred since Judge Katz ordered that all explants must be preserved.  If I recall correctly, that order was issued in the last 6 months or so.  Prior to that date, it was not mandatory that the hospital retain the hip.

What is the benefit of having the hip  examined?  In my opinion, one reason, to learn how much metal has been lost from the implant hence has entered your body.  What I have found is that most labs don't answer that question.  They seem to answer every question other than that question. 

If you want to get your explant examined and your revision falls within the order date, then here are the steps:

(1) Identify the lab you wish to have examine the hip.

(2) Have the lab send the pathology department at the hospital the appropriate packaging for shipping the hip to the lab of choice.  Generally the hospital will not package it up.  Before you hire the lab, make sure you talk to the hospital first to identify the exact location of the implant.  Some hospitals have retained 3rd party labs to house the devices.

(3) Call the path lab or risk management office at the hospital  that performed the revision surgery and determine what materials were  retained from the surgery.  (The materials  can range from the ball, acetablum, stem/taper, all fluids excavated from the site during surgery if you made the request prior to the surgery and then the tissue samples.)  In my case, I will be having the explant (metal) reviewed in one lab and the fluids and tissue in another lab.  It depends upon the capabilities of the lab.  Specific labs are known for doing this type of work on the explants.  There are not a lot experienced labs  in the states in this type of testing as you need certian equipement to perform these tests so you won't find such a lab in each of your cities.

(4) Read the lab's protocol  to make sure you are getting the answer you are looking for.  In my case, I want a sum of the total missing metal from the device.

(5) Determine who is going to pay for this test.  Yes, it costs money.  If you have a law firm, the law firm will arrange for this to be done and arrange for the payment but if you are going through a law firm, make sure they are retaining a lab who provide a quantitative measurement of the amount of metal that was lost on not only the ball and "head" or acetablum but on the stem or taper.  Metal is lost there as well.  Often times in revision surgery, the stem or taper is not replaced though because it is not in many cases considered a contributing factor to the problem and it most certainly is in many cases.

 You can find his orders for dealing with the analysis of these hips here: http://www.ohnd.uscourts.gov/assets/Clerks_Office_and_Court_Records/MDL/2197/ExplantPreservationOrder.pdf and you can find and exhibit here:   http://www.ohnd.uscourts.gov/assets/Clerks_Office_and_Court_Records/MDL/2197/explant-preservationexhibita.pdf

Let me know if you need some names of the labs if you have no attorney.

connie

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