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Thousands of Australians face an uncertain future after a multinational company has been forced into a global recall of its artificial hips.

September 27, 2011, 6:18 pm Damien Hansen Today Tonight 

Every year tens of thousands of Australians have hip replacement surgery, and that number is growing as the population ages.

Now a class action, started in Australia today, has brought unwanted attention to a health scandal.

 

And that’s just the start of the problems.

Bob Lugton’s body is butchered and poisoned.He’s undergone several major surgeries to remove a faulty ASR prosthetic hip made by Depuy, a company owned by Johnson and Johnson.

“My flesh had all turned grey black inside and my bones, as my surgeon said, were like sewer pipes with metal debris. I would blame the manufacturers of the prosthetic,” Lugton said.

Today he told his story to a Senate hearing. “It has been very, very slow coming, and I hope the actions that I’ve been taking will help speed that up,” he said.

Lugton has also instigated a class action against the hip’s manufacturers. “Thousands of us have been used as guinea pigs,” said Lugton.

According to Shine Lawyers’ Rebecca Jankauskas “we have today commenced a class action in the Federal Court of Australia, on behalf of those that we represent with the ASR device.”

Douglas Cope’s metal hip dislocated without warning. “It just got worse, and worse, and worse, and in actual fact the right leg actually collapsed under weight.”

Cope is now recovering from revision surgery, but like thousands of others, still has one questionable ASR device in his other hip.

“The wellbeing of the patient has been sacrificed because they didn’t understand what this metal to metal was going to do,” Jankauskas explained.

Toxic cobalt and chromium is also leaching into his body from the metal on metal device.

“He’s in extreme amounts of pain, and he is a very unfortunate victim of the ASR device.”

Jankauskas believes the ASR hip implanted in thousands of Australians is not the only faulty device on the market.

“We have between 30 and 40 Australians contact us in relation to the Pinnacle hip. The concern is there could be up to 50,000 of these hips.”

Grandmother Christine Rodham is one of at least 40 hip replacement patients who believes the Pinnacle prosthesis, also made by Dupuy is to blame for her ongoing health issues.

“I think they should admit liability. I know they have done in some cases, and I know they probably don’t want to, but they should admit liability,” she said.

Describing her symptoms she lists “clicking and grinding in my hip and pain. I was becoming quite ill with tiredness, headaches and nausea,”

Jankauskas also warns “a dead giveaway is when your blood tests reveal you have very high levels of cobalt and chromium.”

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