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Solicitor says DePuy case may affect 600 in Cork | The Cork News.

Solicitor Says DePuy Case May Affect 600 In Cork

Friday, 31 August 2012  By: Keith Watterson

A Dublin lawyer estimates that as many as 600 people in Cork were fitted with the faulty hip implants recalled worldwide two years ago by medical devices giant DePuy.

Peter McDonnell, who is hosting a free seminar in the city on the issue this month, is representing almost 300 people in their legal actions against the company, of whom a third are from Cork.

Up to 3,500 Irish people were fitted with the faulty ‘metal on metal’ hip replacement implants, recalled by DePuy worldwide on August 24th, 2010 in the face of data gathered by UK academics and medics that showed higher than expected failure rates of the devices.

“Based on my knowledge of the case, talking with other solicitors, and observations, I would say about 600 people in the Cork area may have been fitted with the implants,” he said.

Mr McDonnell says he is hosting his information seminar at the River Lee Hotel on Monday September 10th at 2pm as a result of the confusion among many affected patients about their legal rights and also the position regarding ongoing blood testing of those fitted with the implants. He described the seminar as “practical advice”, to ensure people were aware of their rights.

He said that many people were under the impression that they were no longer entitled to lodge a claim against DePuy as two years had passed since the recall.

“Firstly, the Statute of Limitations runs from the patient’s date of knowledge that they may have been wronged, not from the recall. And secondly, the two-year period applies to medical negligence cases. The Statute of Limitations for Product Liability cases is three years from the date of knowledge,” he said.

“While DePuy is still not admitting liability, there have been medical negligence proceedings issued against surgeons and/or hospitals, but in the vast majority of instances, it will be product liability, against DePuy only,” he predicted.

The lawyer said that in addition to the confusion about the deadline, there had been “inconsistency among medical professionals as to when and how frequently affected patients should be blood tested for the presence of potential toxic metal ions”.

In light of a DePuy statement that it will cover all “reasonable and customary” related costs incurred by affected patients, Mr McDonnell insisted those fitted with the implants should be blood tested at six-monthly intervals. “It’s important that the patients make contact with their hospitals, and ensure that they have appointments every six months,” he said.

Earlier this year, the HSE estimated that some 12% or 420 of the Irish patients fitted with the implants would require revision surgery. Mr McDonnell said that 25% of his clients have had, are scheduled to, or been advised to have the faulty device replaced.

He predicted that the first of the cases taken worldwide against DePuy could be settled by the end of 2013.

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