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Hip discomfort spoilt retirement hopes

BY JACQUI JONES 03 Oct, 2011 05:00 AM Source: Newcastle Australia – The Herald

HOWARD Brown hoped a hip replacement would improve his health in retirement.

Mr Brown, 67, of Sandgate, had an operation in July 2008 to replace his hip, worn out from years of heavy work.

About a year ago, he began experiencing problems with his leg, including burning sensations that would “virtually bring tears to my eyes”.

A severe rash under his arms and around his groin caused great discomfort.

“It was like it was leaking out of my lymph nodes,” Mr Brown said.

About the same time, his son told him about a hip implant recall.

It was one of the same DePuy models that Mr Brown had implanted.

X-rays and ultrasounds revealed Mr Brown had a tumour on the prothesis and the bone around his pelvis was worn away.

Cobalt had leached into his blood.

After more ultrasounds and CT scans, Mr Brown had revision surgery in March this year to insert a new prothesis.

He and wife Lorraine have been in contact with Shine Lawyers, who are leading a class action against DePuy.

“The biggest thing I’m cranky about is that DePuy knew about the problem in 2007,” Mr Brown said.

“And they were still supplying them and they weren’t taken off the market until . . . 2010.”

While legal proceedings are pursued, the Sandgate couple are focusing on Mr Brown’s health.

“I’m hoping within 12 or 18 months it will correct itself,” he said.