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Battle For Justice Beings On Behalf Of Injured Patients

Legal experts have launched legal action on behalf of a number of people who have suffered serious health problems as a result of faulty hip replacement devices which, on investigation, have been found to be unregulated products built from components produced by different manufacturers.

The specialist Product Liability team at Irwin Mitchell have seen numerous cases in which hip replacement patients have suffered complications with devices, with a review of medical records confirming the ‘mix-match’ items are essentially unregulated.

This is because the majority of orthopaedic device manufacturers specifically state that their products must not be used in combination with products from other manufacturers. In addition, such devices lack regulatory approval and also render any CE mark on the components redundant.

Irwin Mitchell is the first law firm to tackle the issue of healthcare providers using components produced by different manufacturers in breach of the European Regulatory regime, with its lawyers issuing letters of claim to several private and NHS hospitals in relation to the issue.

They are now calling on the bodies to also work with them to further investigate this issue, as well as improve education in an effort to boost patient safety.

Kevin Timms, an expert product liability lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who is representing patients affected by this ‘mix-match hips’ issue, said: “Many of our clients affected by mix-and-match metal-on-metal hip implants came to us purely due to concerns regarding injuries and complications they have suffered with the devices.

“It is only after reviewing their medical records that it has been revealed they have been fitted with devices essentially manufactured by healthcare providers prior to surgery, using parts from different manufacturers. This is not how these devices were intended to be used.

“With the NHS performing more than 66,000 hip procedures in England and Wales in 2013, we are concerned by the seriousness and potential extent of this issue. When the individual components are given regulatory approval by authorities it is with the intention that they are used with comparable products from the same manufacturer or approved by the manufacturer and they are not built to be used with other products. Rebuilding mix-matched products makes this approval void, as it means the creation of what is legally an entirely new device.

“From what we have seen, it also means that patients who have been fitted with such devices without their knowledge often need earlier revision, due to faster deterioration of components which have been used together despite not being built for that purpose

“We are hopeful that the NHS and the private healthcare industry will work with us to investigate the problems our clients have faced, while we feel it is also vital for manufacturers to further stress to medical professionals the importance of ensuring their devices are maintained and used in the manner intended.”

About Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell is over 100 years old and is one of the largest law firms in the UK. There are offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Leicester (consulting office), London, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and new offices in Cambridge and Southampton in 2014. Irwin Mitchell also completed the acquisition of Specialist Personal Injury firm MPH Solicitors in November 2013.

The firm is consistently involved in many of the most important personal legal services cases on behalf of its clients and the independent Legal 500 2013 UK report ranks Irwin Mitchell as number one for Clinical Negligence, Personal Injury, Travel, Product Liability, Family, Court of Protection and the Public Law team’s education expertise. The firm also has over 65 lawyers personally recommended in the Chambers UK Guide 2014.

In 2012, Irwin Mitchell became one of the first companies to be approved as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS), allowing us to plan for growth and take advantage of the opportunities created by the changing legal landscape.

Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP is a separate Scottish legal practice regulated by the Law Society of Scotland and has an office in Glasgow.

For more information visit www.irwinmitchell.com.