My Story


Thanks for dropping by to see what is going on in my world – there are lots of great things happening and like most of us, the odd annoying thing or two!

We are the sum total of our parents, lives, and experiences to date and each of us possesses a valuable part of the whole; together we are more, apart we are less.

Earl Stevens, PhD

We should never, however, make the mistake of thinking the world is a benign place; scratch the surface the world is a toxic place, and we have to be on guard.

A break in our skin lets the bacteria or virus in. Likewise a break in the social fabric around us lets in all kinds of destructive forces.

But the opportunity for good far outweighs the bad and a positive attitude, discipline and a dose of humor keeps us on the winning side!

On this site, the pages and the posts you will sample some of the things I have been thinking about, been exposed to, lived through and come through stronger.

I want the forum on Hip Replacement to grow so that others can contribute their stories too – or to provide links to your stories too!
 

My Story

Since 2007 I have been battling with problems associated with my hips and problems caused by the medical profession who seem to be “pattern adopters” rather than “first principles” thinkers.Over the next little while I will be documenting the interesting but somewhat irritating adventures of someone with osteoarthritis and what to look out for when dealing with doctors and so-called specialists.

About Me

I grew up on a large dairy farm which ultimately sparked my university career. I thought that life was too short to milk 900 cows twice a day! In hind sight maybe I was wrong!

I went on to complete a degree in agricultural science with first class honours and a PhD in biochemistry. I was blessed with a wonderful brain – still am I hope! After teaching for nearly 7 years at university I decided I would rather “do it than talk about it” – I realized I was a practitioner, not an academic.

And so I decided to get into the business world building on my PhD in biochemistry and I rapidly rose through the ranks to senior management and led the creation of one $400 million annual revenue group and another $220 million annual revenue group, in a different industry.

Then I decided to do it for myself about 8 years ago. Since then I have started several successful companies and floated two on the NZ stock exchange.

Unfortunately things do not always work out the way we want it and for a number of reasons and so I am on “a mission” to get the family’s finances back on track & try and learn from all the past materialistic activities – and focus on real value creation, not just wealth and status.

I hope you enjoy my Blog!

Earl

Early Days

Growing up on a dairy farm was lot of fun and hard work – well maybe more like hard work, but better than being stuck inside.

Sport was on periphery of life during childhood – partly because Dad was never around to take me to footy or whatever – he was busy creating one of NZ’s largest dairy farms the hard way – take 1,040 acres of land, all but 40 acres covered in dense scrub and gorse, and turn it into a high producing farm – no wonder he wasn’t around that much!

When he was, we did the usual childhood things and fishing and water skiing stand out, along with yachting and some occasional drownings (three nearly!).

Mid Life Crisis

Mid thirties I discovered the gym; rowing, weightlifting and general fitness, with a lot of cycling too!

I was, and probably still am, someone who pursues something to the extreme, and fitness was no different.

Personal trainer 3 – 4 days a week, gym 2 – 3 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Not an Uncommon Story

What was uncommon was that I was probably unaware that I had a predisposition to arthritis (probably) and one day while doing some lunges supervised by my personal trainer, I put my hip out – though I didn’t realize what it was at the time. Excruciating pain, I do remember!!!

Being super fit at the time, I just brushed it off and found some other exercises to keep me busy!

Fast forward from 1998 when this happened to 2007.

The Perils of Drinking

One afternoon, glass of red wine in hand, I was walking across the polished limestone tiles at home, when all of a sudden my right foot slipped on a prawn my young son had conveniently spat out sometime earlier!

Being resourceful, and dreading breaking the expensive wine glass in my hand, I managed to stay upright almost!

But I knew immediately I had done something to my back… in a word, bugger…

But I also discovered almost immediately this great sensation like someone had rammed a screwdriver into my right hip joint! Wonderful! @@###!!!

So as you do I carried on and made the best use of the available drinking time…

Golf – a poor excuse for a four-letter word

A week later I went out with some mates to play a round of golf and as I got part way round, it became increasingly difficult to walk and provided me with a perfectly good excuse to justify the poor golfing skills that day!

But by the end of the round (not a quitter) I couldn’t walk much at all – so off to the A&E in great pain, blaming it on the golf so the ACC (government accident insurance) paid the bill – X-ray showed nothing and so a jab of Tilcotil (a Roche non steroidal anti-inflammatory) and I was up and off again, albeit a little slower.

Nothing Lasts Forever

The wonderful NSAID injection wore off far too quickly and as luck would have it I wasn’t allowed another one.

So, off to see my doctor. with my tail of woe, still conveniently blamed on the golf, but somewhat confusing to all.

Hips Sore – Back is too…

Some more x-rays revealed that I had put out 4 – 5 of my lower vertebrae during the infamous “slip on the prawn” event a few weeks earlier; but that did not explain the “screw-driver-in the hip feeling”, but what did I know, I’m not a medical doctor…

So the next step was to be referred to a back specialist, a certain doctor who will remain nameless, and to have my back “put back in”…

Back Treatment – or was that Back-wards Treatment?

Well getting your back treated was quite an experience and I learned a lot too..

When the doctor examined my back and pressed on the vertebrae which where out, they were extremely sore, giving me some confidence we were on to some thing.

At this stage of the proceedings I was hardly able to walk, sit or sleep without uttering many heartfelt curses and observations which were quite acerbic and not particularly forgiving..

Seems that the offending vertebrae would go back in but they loved to pop out again – so a new form of medical torture was devised… put the vertebrae back into position and then inject something called sclerozin  (or some such name) into the back, supposedly to cause scar tissue to form and hold the vertebrae in place…

Well, maybe it did, maybe it didn’t, but it sure hurt like hell – like injecting liquid fire into your back – many expletives were uttered there and hobbling from the doctor’s offices – the cure seemed worse than the problem… But the new pain sure kept my mind off the old pain, except the screw driver was still in hip joint… but this was explained away by … referred pain… or something like that. AND by now the pain was spreading down my leg my femur and knee hurt like hell too!

So the cycle developed – hurt like hell for a few days… feel good for a few days … then off to get more injection torture… and on, and on, and on.

Enough of the Back Treatment!

After about 3 months of taking my mind of my other pain by paying the doctor to give me more pain treating my back I got tired of the cycle and hobbling around like an old man at the ripe old age of 50 !

One memorable day I was walking across Melbourne airport and I thought, “God I’m not going to be able to do this, I’m going to have to get a wheel chair”. But pride and a very stubborn streak didn’t allow that and so I finally made it – a two minute walk became 15 minutes of agony…

So I rang my back specialist from the airline lounge and relayed my problems and was told that I probably had a “myalgia”

Myalgia means “muscle pain” and is a symptom of many diseases and disorders. The most common causes are the overuse or over-stretching of a muscle or group see here

So I went back to my general practitioner and explained my growing tale of woe – and my increasing inability to walk without major difficulty.

And – I got a referral to a “rheumatologist” because maybe the pain in my right hip and leg wasn’t all that related to my back?

Maybe I had some form of arthritis?

Medical Poisoning – Salazopyrin

Well, I welcomed a fresh approach to my steadily declining mobility…

So the Rheumatologist was a great guy – took some blood tests and told me that I didn’t have anything in my blood tests which indicated arthritis and he was at a loss to explain my pain and loss of mobility – read “hardly able to walk”..

BUT as I later learned Osteoarthritis seldom shows up in blood tests – whereas Rheumatoid arthritis does!!!

He prescribed a drug called Salazapyrin – used in a number of different disease conditions. And in fairness I did have really painful joints too…

Salazopyrin belongs to a group of medicines called anti-inflammatory medicines and is used to treat and manage Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease which are diseases of the bowel. Salazopyrin EN tablets are also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, which is a painful joint disease (see here).

He mentioned that this drug was a derivative of aspirin and in rare cases some people had a reaction to the drug.

So like a good little medical problem/victim I went off and got the drug from the pharmacy and started taking it as directed.

About three weeks later I caught the flu – or so I thought – I took to bed with a 40 C fever and lay there for about a week before my wife finally convinced me to go to the A&E – maybe it wasn’t the flu or if it was I needed some medical treatment.

I got my sorry ass to the A&E and finally battled through the room of sports injuries, coughs and colds and screaming babies to finally see the doctor. He agreed – all was not right and so some urgent blood tests were ordered and I was sent home to rest…

Emergency

Three hours later the A&E rang me at home and said I needed to get to hospital immediately – my blood tests were off the “Richter scale”, so to speak, and I needed to get there – pronto!

So in I went and lots of tests later they decided that I had “chemical hepatitis”. I had had a massive reaction to the Salazapyrin and it had nearly killed me!

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to Salazopyrin may include skin rash and itching, breathlessness and anaphylactic reactions (major allergic reactions (see here)).

• nausea and vomiting
• loss of appetite
• raised temperature
• fever
• redness and itchiness of the skin
• diarrhoea
• stomach pains
• swelling of the liver
• headache
• dizziness
• change in sense of smell or taste
• insomnia
• depression
• convulsions
• ringing in the ears
• hallucinations
• yellow skin
• allergic reactions
• swelling of the face
• skin rash
• dermatitis
• loss of hair
• increased sensitivity to light
• breathlessness
• cough

After about a week in hospital I was released, some 7 kg lighter! So good does come out of bad.

BUT the worst was yet to  come – because my liver was so knocked about I wasn’t allowed to have anything alcoholic… bugger … and I still had the hip pain …

BUT – given I was so sick I did not want to eat and so I lost 20 kg in total – WOW – I had people queuing to buy those pills – weight loss wonder – but somewhat fatal potentially!

Hips R Us

On of the good things the Rheumatologist had done was to refer me to an orthopedic surgeon to see if there was actually something wrong with my hip.

I decided against the surgeon who was the family friend who had just replaced two hips on one poor guy – the first one had been the wrong one and so the surgeon had to do the correct one for free!

The surgeon I went to see was recommended by any older friend of mine – said he had done a great job and as he was a mad-keen golfer, always out playing, I thought it was a fair recommendation!

The surgeon examined me and confirmed what I had long suspected, that my right hip was severely “dodgy” and most likely needed to be replaced!

An MRI confirmed that both hips had arthritis but the right hip was by far the worst – it had a 2.5 cm cyst in the hip joint – bone-on-bone and that explained why it made that “dry paper crackling noise” when I walked (with some difficulty, I might add).

From there one more test was done to make sure it really was the hip, there was one final interesting procedure required – an x-ray guided injection of steroid and local anesthetic into the right hip joint to see if the pain was knocked out – if it was, then this proved the hip was the source of the pain…

Interesting procedure and not very modest at that! Complicated by a very pretty doctor and nurse…

So that was it – the hip was the problem…

So after 13 months of hell I was scheduled for a total hip replacement – I could hardly wait ….

Hip Replacement

14 August 2008

The day of the hip replacement finally arrived.

The operation took place at a nice reputable private hospital which was well-equipped and routinely used for orthopedic operations  by the private specialists.

My wonderful health insurance paid for the operation – about $28,000 in the end.

The lead up to the operation was pleasant and I got to meet the staff and anesthetist on the way into the operating theatre.

The total hip replacement took about 3 – 4 hours and I recall waking up in the post-operative area and speaking with the surgeon – all had gone well.

I recall being told the hip was a real mess and while I had signed up pre-operation to have it donated to the “bone-bank”, I was told it was too damaged and it was being sent to histology to make sure there were no other issues. I asked to see the hip and I must admit that it was quite a mess, even to my befuddled brain.

Operation Note

OPERATION NOTE

NAME:   Earl Stevens – dob: [removed]

DATE & HOSPITAL:    14 August 2008    [removed] Hospital

OPERATION:  Birmingham/Spectron total hip joint replacement – right

SURGEON:    [removed]

ANAESTHETIST:    [removed]

FINDINGS:

A 50 year old man with inflammatory arthropathy of unknown aetiology with a slightly dysplastic right hip and severe pain.  There was a formal synovium lying over the acetabulum particularly in its inferior aspect and there was marked thickening of the capsule both anteriorly and posteriorly.  Osteophytes at the acetabular rim anteriorly and at anterior aspect of femoral neck.

PROCEDURE:

Spinal plus general plus urinary catheter.  A standard posterior approach was made with release of the insertion of the deep part of gluteus maximus, identifying the sciatic nerve.  The short external rotators plus quadratus femoris were taken down and the capsule of the hip joint excised as completely as possible from the posterior approach.  The hip was then dislocated.  The femoral neck was sectioned using a saw.  The acetabulum was reamed down to cortical bone and 3 or 4 cement holes were inserted.  The cup was cemented in satisfactory position.  The femoral shaft was prepared and the appropriate femoral component was cemented in satisfactory position.

Reduction was achieved and was stable once the osteophytes mentioned above were removed and the thick anterior capsule excised.

A Stryker was inserted and deep tissues closed with heavy Dexon with nylon to skin.  Tulle gras, gauze, Gamgee, elastoplast dressing.

POST OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS:

IV fluid, analgesia, anti-emetic, antibiotics as charted.

Remove Stryker on instruction.

Mobilise on Stryker removal.

Discharge 7 – 10 days with removal of sutures as appropriate.

See rooms at 6 weeks.

Warfarin to commence on evening of surgery and ultrasound done day prior to discharge.

COMPONENTS:

Femoral:             No. 2 femoral, distal centraliser, +4 52mm Birmingham head.

Acetabular:         58mm Birmingham.

Cement plug:      Nil.

Copious specimens were sent for histology.

Recovery

I was taken back to the hospital room and I was remarkably pain-free – thanks to the spinal infusion of morphine!

There was a drain from the site of the operation and the blood was recycled back into me (as I recall) and there was no need for a transfusion.

I had no feeling from the hips on down and slowly over the next day or so I got my feeling back.

Even though the replacement hip hurt like hell I have to say the feeling was a whole lot less painful than it was before the operation!

On the first night, several nurses had to move me around as I wasn’t capable of moving. I recall being unhappy when they rolled me onto my right side – but I didn’t feel anything – just couldn’t understand why they would do it?

I had a urinary catheter in and so there was no need to move! I do recall a very disconcerting feeling when the feeling returned I realized I was passing urine! Thankfully I remembered the catheter!

There was no need to go to the bathroom to pass a motion as the morphine and codeine conspired to make me severely constipated. In fact, despite huge quantities of laxative it was about 5 days before I finally managed to get unblocked. This has to rank as one of the most painful and humiliating experiences of my life – I was placed on the toilet and given a glove and had to manually remove the compacted faeces. I thought I was going to die, it was so painful.

Memo to self: – next time, make sure they give you laxatives from day one!!!

Within a day or two I was up with assistance and encouraged to take the apparatus and me for a walk, albeit slowly, up and down the hall way…

Learning to walk with the new hip was good fun but tiring and then the practice of going up and down stairs on crutches was quite a feat too – I still remember the little ditty – the good goes up to heaven and the bad goes down to hell…

After about a week or so the stitches were removed; all seemed well.

A few days later I was taken down for an ultrasound and they discovered I had a large clot in the femoral vein. Great, now what? Onto larger doses of Warfarin to thin the blood and ensure the clot didn’t dislodge and cause a pulmonary embolism (from memory – need to check this), or worse.

Finally I was released from hospital, all schooled up on what I had to do and how to monitor the Warfarin dose.

For the first week or so at home, having ventured up the stairs to the bedroom, I stayed put and my darling wife looked after me for meals; the district nurse came every few days to look after the dressing until it was removed altogether. The diagnostic laboratory sent their mobile blood collection guy around and took blood tests principally to see what the Warfarin was doing and to adjust the dosage.

The surgeon had schooled me up on the dangers of doing more than you should which could lead to a dislocation – so the crutches were a necessary evil for the first 6 weeks or so. I had learned in hospital how to get on and off the bed without putting the hip out and the physiotherapist had given me a range of exercises to improve strength and mobility in the right hip/leg.

After about 2 weeks I just needed to get a blood test weekly to check the Warfarin dose and fortunately the diagnostic lab collection point was not too far away and it was great to get out of the house.

At 6 weeks I went to see the surgeon. Just before seeing him I had fresh x-rays and overall he was happy with the progress. He was a little less happy that I had turned up without my crutches and so I didn’t see the need to ruin his day totally and tell him that I had driven to the appointment.

About mid-October I was back at work a little each day despite the fact that the hip was still healing and it required quite a lot of care going up and down the stairs at work.

I went to work one morning and was just settling into work when I thought the lights were flashing, certainly my computer screen seemed to be. Then I noticed jagged saw-tooth like flashes of white light on the peripheral and lower quadrant of my left eye, then it started in my right eye. And then I lost peripheral vision and vision in about the left 1/3rd of my left eye. My speech became slurred and I could hardly think.

My office bookkeeper kindly drove me to the local A&E where the doctor examined me and thought it was quite likely a massive migraine (never had one before in my life) but because I was on a fairly heavy dose of Warfarin, they could not rule out the possibility of a temporary ischemic attack (TIA) or a brain bleed which can happen when on Warfarin (commonly used as rat poison). So I was taken by ambulance to the local Hospital’s Emergency Department and admitted. After spending nearly 18 hours in a hospital bed parked in the corridor of the Emergency Department (chronic overcrowding and not enough beds is a real problem in NZ) I had a CAT scan and was put into a temporary ward. Next day the doctors in the hospital put it down to a migraine and I was discharged.

At about 3 months I was given the all-clear on the blood clot, after a couple of medical opinions! I was pleased to get off the Warfarin.

However, at this stage I still required pain killers (Panadol) as the hip was still quite sore still.

But I was mobile! And the pain was so much less than before; so I was very happy.

Balance of 2008

Overall I was a lot more mobile than I had been before the hip operation.

However, the right hip replacement continued to be sore – strangely I still seemed to be aware of hip pain which was clearly ridiculous as I did have a hip – just a lump of stainless steel (or that is what thought because that is what my surgeon had told me).

I tried a few games of golf but quite quickly decided that a golf cart was a necessary evil, even though and older friend of mine, who had had a hip replacement by the same surgeon seemed to manage to walk around the course OK.

As the surgeon had mentioned it would take up to 18 months to get the full benefit of the operation, I just put it down to the fact that the hip was still healing and I was still getting used to it.

I continued to take Panadol regularly and some Voltaren which seemed to help.

An Eventful 2009 – 2010

During 2008 the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) was hitting NZ and 30-plus finance companies went into receivership and liquidation.

In 2006 I had floated a biotechnology company on the NZX. Mid 2007 I had resigned from the business due to a hostile takeover and in May 2008, just after I had come out of hospital after poisoning due to the Salazapyrin, I was rung up by one of the company’s financiers and was told that the company was about to go into administration or receivership because they had lost confidence in the board and management. This was news to me as all the press releases from the company had been positive. It transpired that the board had not released my personal guarantees as provided for in a deed of separation in 2007. The net result was that I was financially ruined.

So in February 2009 I went to Australia to look for work. I stayed with some very good friends for several months and my wife’s relatives while I found a job – finally in May 2009.

During my time in Sydney, I had no car and so walking and buses was the name of the game. My hip continued to trouble me and it was a major battle to walk the 1 km to the shops and even a greater battle to walk home up a steep hill to where I was living. The hip was painful and as I very little money I could not afford much in the way of painkillers – and I had not been there long enough to get Medicare.

I just put the hip pain down to the “hip settling in” and kept going. I had little choice to be frank.

Once I got a job I was able to afford to go to the local doctors on the Gold Coast, just south of Brisbane.

The hip seemed to be niggling along and so I just kept it under control with Panadol as required. However, with my job there was increasing amounts of driving and flying and the hip started to play up again. Voltaren seemed to be even better and I bought it across the counter and took 50 mg twice a day – much less than I had been taking prior to the hip replacement – mind you, that had put me in hospital twice with bleeding!

About August 2009 I was helping out in the warehouse as we attempted to get all the orders out for a record month of sales and while moving a relatively light pallet of pet accessories around to the wrapping machine, I somehow twisted the right hip and it felt like the actual femoral stem of the prosthesis had moved.

Knowing what I know now, I think it probably had!

I carried on after 30 minutes, as most blokes do and all seemed fine, albeit a little painful – so down with some Panadol.

However, when I got home that night I was in absolute agony and so I had to go to the Gold Coast Hospital A&E. Once I go there after about 2 hours they gave me some strong pain killers while I waited. By about midnight I finally got seen and after some X-rays they concluded that the hip looked fine and sent me home with a prescription for some more pain killers.

Over the next few months the pain killers seemed to be less and less effective and so I went back to taking Voltaren 50 mg twice a day. I bought packs of 25 mg over the counter and took two in the morning and two at night and this seemed to help. However, by this stage I was out with the sales team 3 weeks out of 4 and driving and flying and walking became increasingly painful. Several more trips to the hospital A&E ensued and same result – hip looks OK.

May 2010 I finally had enough spare cash to take out Medibank Private cover – but there was a 12 month stand down period for pre-existing conditions. So I got a referral to the Gold Coast Hospital to be seen by an orthopedic surgeon. Little did I realize then, that it would take another 12 months to secure an appointment at the Gold Coast Hospital Outpatients clinic!

About this time I started having an irregular heart beat which my local doctor seemed to thing was stress related and prescribed a drug called Kalma, but this made no difference at all. The irregular heart beat has continued and I have put it down to a premature ventricular contraction (PVC) but now I am wondering for reasons which will become obvious.

I tried playing golf and going to the driving range during 2010 but always it aggravated my hip and by now the left hip was starting to make its osteoarthritis felt, not to mention bad “tennis elbow” after one round of golf.

I sold my golf clubs in absolute disgust and decided to find other less stressful and punishing pastimes.

By early 2011 I was increasingly concerned at the loss of mobility and the ongoing pain and sensitivity in the hip, the outside of hip, the groin and at time in the pelvic bone area. And by now the left hip was hurting in the groin, down the leg and to the knee.

So my local doctor prescribed Naproxen 1000 mg daily in place of the Voltaren. This seemed to provide some relief for both hips but I also needed a stronger form of Panadol, Panadol Osteo, 2 -3 times a day.

I had a new lease of life and bought some cheap golf clubs and hit the golf driving range, dragging young son (6) and daughter (8) along – the loved it and so did I but after a few days the pain came back with a vengence and so since April I haven’t played golf again.

In fact I have had a number of days where all I have wanted to do is just rest. Fortunately I am not traveling too much at present, apart from driving from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and back each day.

As my Medibank Private finally passed the 12 months in May I saw my doctor and got a referral to a private orthopedic surgeon – and just as I made the booking the appointment for the Gold Coast Hospital came up – so as it is associated with Griffith University and is a teaching & research hospital I decided to cancel the private specialist and go to the Outpatient’s Clinic on the 8th June 2011.

Read on – Current Issues with my hips

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44 thoughts on “My Story”

  1. Howard Sadwin said:

    In 2007 I had Smith and Nephew, Birmingham hip (BHR) put into me. 6-8 months later I walked with an odd gate, back began to hurt and had flu like systems. Had scans,x-rays,etc. always being told all ok. Things got worse, by 2010 I walked with a cane. After my second disslocation, my surgeon told me the device would have to be removed if it happened again. I told him I was going for another opinion, he suggested a surgeon that specializes in hip problems. The new surgeon also told me a third disslocation would mean the hip would have to come out. He suspected their was a build up fluids around the hip. Two hours later I got up from my office chair and out the hip came. The BHR was removed, the surgeon told my wife he had never seen such a mess, all the tissue and muscle surrounding my hip area was gone, deteriorated. Caused by the metal on metal shavings getting into my blood system and causing this to happen. After a week I was sent home to recooperate. That night I spiked a 105+ fever and my hip erupted and I had a liquid like substance all over the place. Back to the hospital where I remained for 9+ months, underwent 12+ operations, performed by 3 different surgeons. The operations were just a cleansing of the hip area.
    My surgeon came in to see me one night and told me he thought he could keep me alive, but I would have to do the rest.
    A great medical team including nurses, my family, friends, my will and my now year old grandson Hayden, kept me alive.
    I am home living in a wheel chair with no hip.
    I have learned a life time worth of information as to this company and others, how they skirt around our approval system through the 510k plan, the on going litigation, etc.
    I hope I can be instrumental in preventing such a terrible thing from happening to other people, and I will have my day in court.
    Respectfully
    Howard Sadwin

    • Hi Howard

      I am shocked by your story and still numb from reading it.

      I hope you don’t mind but I have publicized your comment on my Bog as Smith and Nephew need to be called to account.

      They are very slick with all their PR and have the information on their hips very tightly controlled on the internet – hard to find.

      All the very best and I don’t know what else to say but that my heart goes out to you and you are in my thoughts and prayers (not that I am too religious).

      Kind Regards

      Dr. Earl Stevens

      • notsofatkat said:

        I have come across Earl’s Blog quite a few times in my research about Smith & Nephew Products. A friend of mine has necrotizing fasciti which coincided with her Documented use of the S & N wipes contaminated with the B. Cereus Bacteria. She had a simple hernia repair in 11/09. In 7/2010 after 5 hours of surgery, and a hole larger than a bowling ball in her abdomen she was sent home on that same day and the dx was Necrotizing fastitis… Almost another year goes by, and she’s had another surgery for nec fas of the genital area. Initially the MD’s in the ER said she needed 2 surgeries…One to clean up the obvious black rotted abdominal flesh, and another to clean out the necrotizing fascitis of the genital area, and they would be in the hospital for one month. Many MD’s knew of the b cereus….She only had one surgery, was discharged after 1 week with a PIC line to administer her IV antibiotics and pain meds, and she’s back on 3 different oral antibiotics……Now the MD’s are telling her she will not need the skin grafts they initially thought she would need. She’s on Medicaid and the MD’s don’t want to get involved……The last infection traveled all the way down her leg…..The abdomen is still black, and she’s telling the MD’s it smells like an infection…..

      • Good grief, that is shocking. Can she get legal help to get some redress? Maybe talk to the New York TImes about this?

        Earl

  2. Howard Sadwin said:

    I’m catching up finding new articles involving medical device world. Stryker wants to take on Smith and Nephew by having a new hip approved by the FDA 510k.
    A decision is forth coming, great news? What about the devices both companies now have on the market that are potential time bombs. Were are the studies and reports supporting an approval of yet another product. Results from outside sources that have absolutely no financial ties. I don’t mean from third world countries, that are receiving financial, medical, grant monies. If I were a third world country and you ” Smith and Nephew ” or Stryker or whomever were supplying medical devices, monies, grants I as a third world country would be reluctant to report adverse affects these devices may have on people, don’t you think?
    Changes for the better will only happen if I, you step up to the plate and say this is not working, why not try my idea or your idea.
    Howard Sadwin

    • Good points – seems that Corin have had their own problems in the UK – they papers I have read suggest they know all about cobalt chrome and how it affects recipients. Wonder what they sent to the FDA.

      Why doesn’t Stryker just develop its own devices learning from all the mistakes that are out there now.

      Earl

  3. Wow…sounds like you’ve had an awful time of it, Earl. So sorry to hear. I sure hope things improve for you. All the best, Marianne

  4. kristi weatherford said:

    Hi Howard-

    I am a 36 yo female living with a BHR implanted March of 2010. I also had to have my acetabulum rebuilt and a taper added to hold the head of the BHR. Due to this I went through and inch change in height. Like you all, I am constantly aware that I have had a hip resurface and tire so easily and just don’t feel quite right. I am terrified that of my age i am facing much more adversity. This hip almost put me in the grave. Took me three years to actually look for help and to get do something about it. The pain now is much different than the original pain.
    Thanks for sharing your stories, i hope that I can use your experience to help me and my future.

  5. everything about pain like the pain you have with the new bhr replacement is true its just like have the bad bone back and nothing has changed for the better, with earl’s story it’s very near to my own and a replacement that is ment to make your life better does not do that it makes it worse to the point that your in so much pain and you can not walk is when it’s gone wrong. i have been to see the uk’s leading metal on metal hip study and i can tell you more that’s mind blowing we are all just test bunnies for the large companies that make replacement parts. i have read, viewed video and pictures loads of information on bhr and revisons of when bhr goes wrong mom, still tring to find more out as much as i can.

    • Howard Sadwin said:

      My intentions are to tell my story, and for others to listen to my thoughts on improving a system that is in dire need of help. In 2007 I had a metal on metal device put into my body, 6-8 months after the procedure I began limping,back pain increased, groin pain was getting worse, and low grade fevers appeared. I visited my orthopedic surgeon several times, he x-rayed the hip and saw no signs of a problem. My family checked me almost weekly and recommended I see a back doctor, this examination and x-rays showed no problem.Things got progressively worse. At one point Ithought it was just me. I had an active life at 65 years, I fished,hunted,competed my labrador retrievers in field trials, I have four grandchildren, ages 4-8, 3 girls-1 boy, and they aare a big part of my life. I have a loving wife of 23 years, I go to the gym 3 times a week, had a real estate career of 31 years, I am envolved with little league.
      My grandson is like my son, use to spend 3-4 times a week with me. The last we were out together, I would pick him up at school in my truck, we were riding atvs(4 wheeler) and he was getting into racing.
      By 2010 I walked with a cane, lived in constant pain, but I tried to maintain my degree if activities as best I could. In the beginning of January 2010 while getting out of bed I dislocated my hip, which resulted in my 1st ambulance trip to the hospital. The hip was put back in place, I returned home after a few days in the hospital. I saw my orthopedic surgeon, more x-rays, everything look ok, just cut back my activities, and I did. Within one week of being at home I got up from sitting in a chair at home, and the hip dislocated for the 2nd time, another ambulance trip, same routine.
      Saw my surgeon, he tells me if it dislocates again the device would have to be removed. I told him I was going for another opinion, I was referred to a surgeon that specializes in hip and knee problems.
      I was in his office two days later, the x-rays looked he wanted me to have an MRI taken to get a better look, as he thought there maybe a pocket of fluid of fluid in the hip area, if so the fluids pressure could be responsible for the 2nd dislocation. Also he told me if the hip dislocated one more time the device would probably have to be removed.
      I left his office and went to work in my office downtown. 2 hours later I got up from my chair and the hip popped out for the third time. Ambulance picked me up, I was on a first names basis with these folks, they were excellant in their taking care of me. off to the hospital.The second surgeon, who specializes in hip problems, removed the hip.
      After the surgery the doctor told my wife,sister and mom he had never seen such a mess, all the muscle and tissue that supported my hip was gone, deteriorated. I returned home after my stay in the hospital. I was home in bed, woke up to a pool of fluids all over the sheets and I started a fever of 105+. This trip in the ambulance was a rush to the hospital where I spent the next 9+ months and underwent 12+ operations performed by 3 different surgeons. These surgeries were just for a cleaning out of the debrie in my hip area. In a few of these operations parts of my femur were cut off to prevent further complications. The bottom right side of my body looks like a crater, covered with enough railroad tracks to make you think you were in grand central satation.(scars)
      God, great doctors and nurses, my loving wife, family, friends, my labrador retriever, came to the hospital regurarly, my now 8 year old grandson, the apple of my life and my beautiful grand daughters, my spirituality, and my will to survive kepy me alive.
      One surgeon came into see how I was doing, not so good, he leaned over close to my ear and told me I was dieing, that he thought he could keep me alive, but the rest was up to me.
      Going through something like this can’t totally be understood unless one has lived the experience, I don’t wish to happen to to you, my grandchildren, my friends, or anyone.
      I have spent endless hours on the computor reading, researching, communicating, learning about the medical device world and how it works. I have read much about the approval process of medical devices. I have a better understanding on how the hip and knee debacle was allowed to happen.
      The medical device world provides a second chance at having a better quality of life, and has saved lives. However, its time to face the reality, metal on metal was not the materials that would prove to be my best friend.
      I want to do whatever I can to see this never happens again.
      I have a tough time swallowing when I read how the hip device used on me was approved by the FDA.
      In 2004, Smith and Nephew, the manufacturer of the Birmingham Hip (BHR) tried to get FDA approval on this hip device. They were denied the first go around with the FDA. Some of the denial reasons were lack of certain data, the data used to support there approval came from a controlled group of patients, controlled by McMinn, whom is partially credited with inventing the BHR, he also worked for Smith and Nephew, he had financial interest(upon approval of the BHR by the FDA, he would be paid over $50 million dollars. The FDA’s concern was the possible influence these things could have had on the data as reported by Smith&Nephew.
      There were no long term results, that were acceptable, in determining how this product would survive and what were the adverse affects the device may have on humans. (That’s us) The FDA was also concerned on potential friction of the metals and what affect they may have on the human body. There are tons of old information on this matter available to the us. What would these metal shavings do if they entered the human blood stream and body.
      Solving these issues was no problem, in 2006, using the same information and the good old 510k plan,(look up on the FDA site for information on this process if you really want the hair on your neck stand up.) the BHR was approved. There were conditions made by the FDA, that Smith & Nephew would give the FDA research data as to the hip,any adversities, and information as to the metal on metal, their particles impacting the human body.
      There were surgeons and doctors expressing their concerns by use of the metal on metal devices, I guess they were misplaced or maybe ignored, or maybe got a few bucks and they were lost.
      During this time frame 2007
      there were 5 of the big manufacturers under investigation by the Federal Government for deceiving marketing techniques, kickbacks,(that right) surgeons,doctores,hospitals,distributors, etc were being paid millions and millions of dollars,boats,cars,vacations, and these 5 big companies, including Smith&Nephew, stopped the ongoing investigation by paying a mere $311,000,000 fine.
      Some of these companies have since got caught again. The FDA is another debacle.
      The laws governing these devices is all about Market Share and Financing, I don’t remember reading too much about the safety and well being of US. These laws go back to late 1970’s and have been added onto and onto etc. you would get dizzy reading about them. The analogy I use a leaking roof can be patched so many times, then you need a new one. Could be money was paid to withhold information as to the real data available; forgot to let you in on a secret, we are the lab rats. That’s how we know metal on metal can cause serious problems to one’s health and well being.
      Last, please give me your attention for a moment. Close your eye’s, as if you were a light switch, when you open them, the switch remained off, didn’t work, all the enjoyment of your life was taken away from you. My 8 year old grandson usually would stay over 1 or 2 nights a week. Last week, he said to me, could he go home and not spend the night, I had expected this, my heart sunk. I picked my head up, looked into those big blue eyes and asked him was this because we couldn’t do to the things we use to do, he responded yes. I said you can do whatever you wish that I understood.
      This isn’t just about court, this is about getting well first and foremost.
      The most important thing we can do, is work collectively, support each other when one is in need of a shoulder, and speak your piece. If the system, or the device is responsible for doing this to me or to you is ever going to be changed, we must prevail in the courts.
      Respectfully
      Howard Sadwin

      Thanks for taking your time to read this story, I hope it has helped.

      • notsofatkat said:

        Yes,,,,we are the lab rats…..As a matter of public record….The Smith & Nephew Recall of their contaminated wipes with the Bacillus Cereus Bacteria received little attention on the FDA’s webside. The TRIAD Group was allowed to stay open manufacturing these products with the FDA’s “oversight” They finally closed the place down this year after the FDA’s oversight didn’t work.

  6. Hello All-

    This is very sad to read. As a reporter, I’m following surgical mesh injuries which are quite similar to what I’ve seen above- the 510(k) approval with no clinical trials, tail wagging the FDA dog, plastic parts and metal not compatible with the human body….

    The Mesh News Desk hopes to put a face on the so-called ‘adverse events’ as the FDA calls them. These are real human tragedies, as your stories are, … all I can do as a journalist is put a face on this so that the benefit of the doubt does not continue to go to the manufacturers, who have, in some cases, proven themselves unworthy of making safe and effective medical devices.

    Please come visit and comment. Reach me at jeakre@gmail.com. I’ve only done mesh profiles so far but may expand to include your stories. Thank you for sharing.

    http://meshmedicaldevicenewsdesk.com

    Jane Akre

    • Hi Jane

      thank you for the contact – I have linked my site to yours under my blog roll – Surgical Mesh…

      We are guinea pigs for crass medical engineers who have not figured out that metallic parts corrode in warm salty environments – a.k.a our bodies. We are not cars or trucks – they would have more rights than us and there would be recalls if only a few sets of brakes failed.

      The fat cat orthopaedic companies are living off our grief – the least they could do is carry an insurance policy for the percentage that have a problem with their devices – but NO – they just chase the dollar.

      Keep up the good work!

      Earl

      • Howard Sadwin said:

        Jane there is plenty that can be done to better protect the human quality of life, and less risky. This will require victems to step forward a demand accountability from the medical device world and our goernmental bodies that protect the device companies first and us second.People must be willing to go beyond telling their stories, they must demand change and restitution if they have been victemized by the medical device manufacturers. We must try to organize, and see justice is met. In a manner that takes human life and the quality of life as number one in importance and the medical device manufactrurer second, especially now, when some of these devices have destroyed our lives and the lives of those that are closest to us.

        Respectfully
        Howard Sadwin

  7. Thank you- you too. Yours is the only other site I’ve seen that tells the stories behind the statistics. Exactly what is the proper body count before some action is taken? I’ve linked to your site too….. Thanks for the in-depth personal story ..I’m sorry.

  8. Thanks – the statistics are not hurting – but we are! The manufacturers and the device approval authorities have lost site of the human impact. The device manufacturers are greedy – they could easily carry insurance to offset the percentage of us who fail to tolerate their engineering!

    I am now a big fan of “what doesn’t kill me makes you stronger!”

    LOL

    Thanks for the link!

    Earl

  9. Howard- Would you and/or Earl like to write an Op-Ed asking for people to take action? That has actually been on my mind- What do I want people to do when the visit the site? Not have mesh? yes, but for those who have been injured by the 510k and FDA,, what’s next? What action is there? There are a couple of petitions circulating which might be okay, but you guys are smart- what do you think the Call to Action should be?

  10. Hi Howard- Are you in the States?,,, Can you send me your number if you would on jeakre@gmail.com

    thanks so much

    ja

  11. Howard- more about the accountability thing. How would voices collectively do that? I’m looking for a call to action on the website, it’s very important to offer that, but I want it to be meaningful.. i’m happy to call you if you email me your phone. Thanks
    jane a.

  12. Howard Sadwin said:

    Jane, hbs924@verizon.net (941-924-1921)

    Howard Sadwin

  13. Dear Earl Stevens,
    I just learned of your blog from Jane Akre and Howard Sadwin. I would like to link your blog to mine: FiDA Failed Implant Device Alliance.
    http://fida-advocate.blogspot.com/
    The medical device industry is global and profit-driven but is not immune to the ability of social media to counter their marketing claims with our real life experience with their “product”.

    • Hi Joleen

      thanks for the contact – happy to link up.

      Will do so now.

      Earl

    • I have added you to my site links!

      Your site looks great!

      Earl

      • jackie anderson said:

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

  14. Joleen- We should talk- how about Thursday!
    Earl- The problem for Howard may be that the BHR is only one of three metal hip devices that has been approved after a premarket review for safety and efficacy. In the U.S., the Chamber of Commerce and its supporting industries decided people were going to court too often for asbestos and tobacco injuries and decided to impose ( with the help of lawmakers) federal preemption- if the product received FDA approval, it has met the highest standard and can’t be challenged in court. In essence, total immunity for device makers. The Supreme Court that established that was Metronic v. Reigel. Horrible precedent for consumers, many of whom supported it because they wanted to rally against trial lawyers who had been made into greedy bottom feeders. Little did they understand that they would be left with no remedies through the court. I don’t know if you have anything similar in NZ or AU. Yet, people don’t seem to know about it here.

    Onward!! Hope you are feeling better…..

    ja

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    Ashwin Architects, top Bangalore architect & interior designer specializes in eco-friendly, modern homes, offices, residential – commercial spaces.

  16. I am so happy to have found this blog! I had a MoM total hip replacement in May 2006; Biomet. My doctor told me it would be the best choice as I was relatively young (47) and had already had two previous surgeries on that hip, making me a poorer candidate for a revision if/when the hip replacement failed. He also prescribed limited movement even after the surgery. I had a hard time recovering from the replacement surgery, but then due to a previous injury my leg had been at an odd angle and shorter for nearly 30 years. He evened out the legs and straightened it, so the muscle cramps, etc. I just assumed were from that. I have had some pain and stiffness but nothing like what I see described here. My heart goes out to all of you… For the most part, I have had nearly seven fairly good years on my hip.

    As soon as I heard about the DePuy recall, I went to my surgeon. He acted like I was over-reacting, told me I had a BioMet hip, and had nothing to worry about….I believed him; didn’t even pay much attention to any subsequent news about these hips. However, I haven’t felt quite right for the past two years, and recently had some blood work. At the same time, I woke up one morning recentlly, got out of bed, and fell….my leg was like it was not there. No feeling and it would not hold my weight. I was finally able to east myself up and ease my weight on to it. I returned to the orthopedist. Xrays show a great position and the hip looks good. However, his nurse mentioned to me that he does not do hip replacements anymore, and when I asked the surgeon about this, he seemed angry that his nurse had shared this information with me. He did mention people coming in want testing for cobalt and chronium and how that was such a waste since there was not even any medical evidence that it was necessary. It didn’t feel right with me, so I started googling……. the next day I got a phone call…..the blood work shows signs of renal impairment……more tests needed to see if this is from metal toxicity, but I have NO risk factors for renal problems….except this MoM hip. This was a shock to me and to my doctor….. so I am just at the point of learning that I am NOT out of the woods, and that my surgeon can’t be trusted to give me accurate information. I am scared about what may lie ahead…..and I am grateful for the information you have here.

  17. Juergen Schaberick said:

    Earl, I don’t know if you remember me. Thankfully, you published my sad but true story about my faulty and toxic DePuy m-o-m at https://earlsview.com/2011/07/04/depuy-hip-victim/…..Things got worst on my health and as far as financial hardship as well. I need to find one single private lender for a loan in the amount of $15,000 for appr. 3 to 5 years. My wife and I can afford to pay principal and interest. We would pay up to 15% interest, but we don’t want to pay pre-settlement companies and other “loan sharks” between 75% and 100% interest per year. When you or a person in your audience would be interested to help with a private loan, please email me at juergen.j.schaberick@gmail.com. I urgently need to see doctors that are not covered by Medicare. More details on all that, federal lawsuit, collaterals, when you email me. Thanks in advance! Juergen in Venice/Florida

  18. Earl and Everyone! July 30, 2014 is the last day to have the FDA reclassify Pelvic Mesh to HIGH RISK! Which of course it is. We need additional safeguards on plastic mesh. It needs to be Class III. Thank you- we need many more signatures to the petition.. Thank you all!

    http://meshmedicaldevicenewsdesk.com/fda-notices/speak-to-the-fda-now/

  19. All-right-All-right-All-right! Feels good to be back with my fellow victims- I have read with sorrow many of these stories. I want to encourage everyone that it can always be worse. Always. Most of the first half of my story is published on this blog, just search Tims Horror Story –
    Right now, I am here to say that I have spent the last 3 years studying law, educating lawyers on different exceptions, and a myriad of things they should know but I had to lay it out for them. Here is the point- read my story.I thought I was near the end then, just got the revision and BOOM! Back to wife, house, kids and job. Guess what? Because the very 1st doctor who put the hip in me REFUSED to even discuss it after 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,and 8 dislocations. So I , after already losing our home and money leaving my wife and 5 kids homeless-went t o the the jackass in person. I don;t like to name names but its 5 o’clock somewhere….Dr Mark Gillespy of Gillespy orthopedics in Daytona Beach Florida.was my umm, well I hate to actually call him this but at some point in time he was a surgeon.
    Just so you know you can make it through this, I will tell you that so far, I have had 13 hospitalizations – a bone graft, -core decompression, revision on that first hip, and just 4 weeks ago I had a THR on my left hip. I am 49. Here is the kicker- had he right away revised it like any real doctor would- there is a very good chance I would have had nothing but the first right hip. Instead, he watched for 5 months as I suffered -knowing the disease was headed toward the other hip!!!
    An angel of a surgeon after 35 calls or so said he would see me, IF this story was true. I saw him within 24 hours, he told my my other doctor lied to me, and told me I didn’t need 1 surgery that day. I needed 3 that day!!!
    He did a bone graft to keep my left hip together- and it held up until 2 months ago when it fractured so 4 weeks ago he did a THR on my left hip and I am just out of bed the last few days in much pain.
    As for me and mine-we are penniless. -our kids have no home anymore, lost the home, car, everything. To think I lost all this while Halifax Medical Center in Daytona and Mark Gillespy put together a huge 500k production while I was being butchered lie a blind man. After OI lost my house. job. had no money and was clinically depressed and on 5 meds -Got turned down for disability even with 5 diagnoses and 2 metal hips- all because I have a degree. i wont lie and tell you that I have had some not so good thoughts about how to handle this-I am NOT perfect. but I know someone who is, and thank God for answered prayer-
    Hey we all need to keep connecting-this is a great way I am glad I came. I leave you with one thing- Never, Never, Never, Never, Never, Never, Never Give Up.
    tj
    http://www.dontlabelmykid.com

  20. Oh and Earl please connect with me when you are able. Email tjpetri16@gmail.com -cell 386-675-5485- look forward to you hittin me up.
    Tim

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