Hip replacement, also known as hip arthroplasty, can leave patients with less pain, greater range of motion, and an improved quality of life. However, the surgery is not always successful. If you're experiencing complications after your hip replacement, you may wonder if you're entitled to compensation.
About Hip Replacement Surgery
Hip replacement surgery is a procedure that replaces a worn out joint with an artificial replacement. Most people who have this procedure done suffer from osteoarthritis, which is a condition that causes the cartilage that prevents bones from rubbing against each other at a joint to wear down. Hip replacements can also be done to correct childhood disorders such as hip dysplasia.
Due to the constant pressure applied over the course of completing everyday activities, artificial hip joints have a limited lifespan. It's important to keep in mind that a hip replacement surgery only has an expected lifespan of 10 to 20 years even if the procedure is considered a success.
Possible Complications Associated With Hip Replacement Surgery
No surgical procedure is without risk. Some of the potential complications associated with hip replacement surgery include:
- Blood clots
- Excessive bleeding during surgery
- Anesthesia-related complications
- Infection in the new joint
- Allergic reaction to the metal used in the artificial joint
- Weakness or stiffness in the new joint
- Breaking of the new joint over time
- Excessive and/or chronic pain from the surgery and new joint
- Changed leg length causing spine problems or gait abnormalities
Your risk of developing complications increases if you are in fair to poor physical health before the surgery is performed. People with hip dysplasia are also at a higher risk of complications, due to the difficulty in aligning the new joint with surrounding congenital abnormalities.
Because orthopedic surgeons are not miracle workers, they can't promise a positive outcome in every case, so experiencing complications with your hip replacement isn't necessarily indicative of malpractice. However, errors that are related to negligence on the part of your care team may qualify for compensation.
Possible examples of conduct that could form the basis of a malpractice suit include:
- Lack of informed consent for the procedure
- Neglecting to recommend non-surgical approaches when appropriate
- Incorrectly sized prosthetic joints
- Incorrectly installed prosthetic joints
- Failure to monitor for infection
- Failure to timely diagnose infection
- Failure to monitor for complications impacting pain and mobility
Manufacturer negligence may also be a factor in some cases of failed hip replacement. Manufacturers are expected to adequately test the safety of their product and to warn surgeons about the possible danger associated with the hip implant. If your complications are due to problems with the hip joint itself, the manufacturer may be the one who is legally liable for your expenses.
Recent recalls have been issued for the following hip replacement products:
- DePuy ASR Acetabular & Resurfacing System
- Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip
- Wright Conserve Plus and Profemur Z Hip System
- Zimmer Durom Acetabular Component
- Smith & Nephew R3 Acetabular, Modular SMF, Modular Redapt Femoral Hip Systems
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
A medical malpractice case requires you to prove four elements: duty, breach of duty, damages, and causation:
- Duty. Your orthopedic surgeon owed you a duty of care while acting in a professional capacity as a healthcare provider.
- Breach of duty. Your orthopedic surgeon violated the standard of care in treating your condition.
- Damages. You suffered an injury resulting in compensable expenses.
- Causation. Your injury was caused by the orthopedic surgeon's violation of the standard of care.
If you can prove all four elements for your case, your settlement can include compensation for medical care related to the malpractice injury, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.
In cases involving manufacturer liability, class action or multidistrict litigation may be the best option to consider. These procedures allow similar cases to be grouped together, so evidence and expert testimony can be shared.
If you've suffered complications from a failed hip replacement, call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with the legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault. Appointments are available at six convenient locations throughout the state of Louisiana.