Associated Press, Ball and socket joint, breathing problems, Colorado, COLORADO SPRINGS, hip implant, Hip implants, Hip Replacement, Implant (medicine), Johnson & Johnson, lawsuit, Michigan, New Jersey Superior Court, orthopedic surgeon, Settlement (litigation), Stryker Corporation, surgery
My journey started in 2003. I saw an excellent surgeon in COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado. At the time these implants were relatively new in our area. I was told I was receiving an implant that would last up to 20 years.
And not knowing anything about the details of such a surgery, my faith was in the surgeon, who had an excellent reputation.
My second implant was done in July, 2004, when I had so much arthritis in my hip that I could not attend college anymore, because of the distance between buildings, and the fact that my textbooks were too heavy to pull up and down the hills around the campus. I was 52, with a history of milder rheumatoid arthritis.
Post surgery, I healed quickly, and went about my life, not thinking twice about the surgeries. It seemed to be true that the implants would allow me to get back to a more normal life.
However, since 2009, or 2010 I began having problems with respiratory issues. At first, I was diagnosed with asthma. It was mild enough that I could take a standard medication called Singulair. It seemed to be much better and I went on with my responsibilities as a wife, mother and neighbor.
In about 2011, I began having serious problems with my breathing, and periodic chest pain. Testing revealed no serious allergies, and standard labwork showed no issues, organically.
THEN the breathing problems seemed to accelerate. I was in the hospital with respiratory attacks one after another. Testing said that they could not find any specific cause for the attacks.
One day the chest pain was so severe, my son rushed me to the emergency room. After tests, I was told I was having a heart attack, and admitted.
I HAVE NO FAMILY HISTORY OF HEART PROBLEMS, NONE PERSONALLY, AND THE TESTS AT THAT TIME SAID NO BLOCKAGE, NO ABNORMALITY, except that the front of my heart, muscle was enlarged, as though it had been stressed.
I had an angiogram that showed this. The doctor could only say there was a stress to the heart. (unknown etiology.)
Last year, I was having breathing problems and went to my allergist, thinking it was an asthma attack. He tried the standard treatments, but my lungs were not responding, so off to the emergency room I went. The doctor insisted I be taken by ambulance.
While I was transported to the hospital I had a respiratory arrest as I was being taken into the hospital!! I woke up the next morning in I.C.U.
I was depressed and disillusioned, because the specialists could not tell me why my body seemed to be in attack mode against itself.
In April 2014 my husband was failing from diabetes, liver disease, and chronic depression from his military service. I had been caring for him, but now did not have the energy to even take care of myself. Our family suffered since the regular order of things was challenged. I had been working off and on, and now could not handle getting up to dress for work.
Since my husband needed more care than I could now offer, my son came home from Nevada to attend his father, who was given a diagnosis of end stage liver disease.
I was at that point bedridden from the pain in both hips, the left being the most painful. I was taking Oxycodine every four hours just to be able to stay out of the hospital, until I could get answers to the causes.
Jonathon, my son, insisted I go again to see what the doctor could do to ease my pain. And I went into the medical files from my orthopedic surgeon, and found the notice given to me in the original orthopedics office, that said I was to be followed for five years by his office, to monitor my health with the new hip. No such contacts were made. I must have fallen off their radar, when the surgeon left the practice that same year to work with another group.
NOW, the light went on, and I tried to call the phone number on that notice, which was by now disconnected.
My thoughts, along with my son’s was to investigate the information about my hip implant since this seemed to be the possible cause of my pain. And I was fortunate enough to find the Rottenstein Law group’s web site, which advised people to have their blood tested for cobalt and chromium levels.
AHA! Maybe this was the first clue to my pain and illness.
I proceeded to call my physician and request testing. He ordered the tests, and called me a few days later, stating “See your orthopedist immediately.”
This I did.
After almost eleven years, I went to see the dr. who originally did my surgeries. X-rays did not reveal any “visible” damage to the implant. He ordered a cat scan, which also did not reveal any damage or displacement. Blood tests showed no infection. At the next visit, he advised my pain was more likely from my back, and advised that I have periodic cortisone shots to releave the pain.
By this time, I had the courage to question information on the notice about my hip implant, and dictation from that surgery.
I was told that the liner WAS a recalled liner, and if I insisted he could replace it. I then said, yes, I wanted it to be replaced.
Why did I say that? Because my cobalt level was 385 times the normal limit. And the chromium levels were 2.2, instead of the normal .02
This didn’t seem to phase the ortho dr.
The surgery was performed Aug 11, 2014. I was told all went well. There was black/brown fluid around the area.I was
released three days later. However the surgeon DID NOT tell me that he had also replaced the ball. On the post-op visit, the physicians assistant saw me, and I questioned him further. He stated they had ALSO replaced the ball, with another metal one. I was quite upset.But at this point realized my surgeon was avoiding discussing the ramifications of the original surgery, and the physicians assistant explained that there was not patent medical information on the affects of metals in humans from a hip transplant, so my other illnesses were not necessarily from the metals in my blood.
He DID say, I SHOULDN’T WAIT TOO LONG to have the other implant changed. So, if there was no concern, why the hurry NOW????
Hypocrisy to the highest degree!!!!
I went home with my head spinning, knowing from my own VERY EXTENSIVE research that I needed to find another doctor who knew about the MOM hip implants affects on people, and get the next surgery done as soon as I was physically healed with the left hip from the first surgeon revision.
My son and I went on the hunt, speaking to my physician, asking friends if they had heard of the metal implant issues, and looking for lists of orthopedic surgeons to call online.
I finally found one over a hundred miles away who not only knew about the issues, but had to have a replacement himself. He is one of the most respected orthopedic surgeons in COLORADO, name John Xenos. (Colorado Orthopedics)
He said he could not explain the reason for the behavior of my first surgeon, but he could replace the ball on my right hip with ceramic and a liner of a thick polyethylene. He has done numerous repairs on others with great success. And I am scheduled for my second right hip revision on November 17th.
I have been fatigued, headaches, ringing in my ears that is to distraction, and recently tenderness in my side, above the right hip joint.
It is frustrating, and discouraging to know that the medical world has companies like Johnson and Johnson, and Depuy who make decisions regarding such a SERIOUS surgery, without any conscience toward the people their medical supplies will affect. NO STUDIES were done to test the Pinnacle hip implants on real life people or animals.
The one thing I have learned through this experience is to not take for granted that the medical doctors, be they specialists or not, always keep informed and that they do not always share the information with you the patient, even when the ARE sent notice about issues with their
I have been suffering with constant stomach issues in the last year, and since my first revision, my cobalt levels went higher, which I don’t get.
But my hope is that this second revision will allow my body to flush the metal toxins from my system.
I want all to know that there are treatments you can take from a natural or health food store which will also help you to process some of these toxins from your blood, but until the actual culprit, the metal parts, are removed, your immune system is constantly being fed the toxins and your body is fighting an uphill battle.
There is HOPE.Find a surgeon who has done the revision surgeries, and ask LOTS OF QUESTIONS.
Best regards to all my fellow MOM patients: we are soldiers, fighting the commercial world, to be answerable for their corporate decisions affecting THOUSANDS of families. It seems the only way to do that is through the courts, and in their pocketbooks.
God bless you all,