Of the nearly half of a million Australians who have received hip implants in the last 15 years, hope for relief from their everyday hip pain was quickly squandered by the need for additional surgeries and a multitude of associated health problems for many. Di Harvey, a recipient of a Birmingham Hip Replacement System that cost more than $25,000, discovered that her artificial hip failed in less than half the time the device was expected to last, leading to another hip surgery to replace the defective product just seven years later, and a knee replacement shortly thereafter due to favoring her opposite leg to combat the hip pain. Worse yet, Harvey began experiencing a variety of unexplained symptoms, including heart palpitations, a severe cough, and vomiting, which was later diagnosed as metal toxicity. “I got rid of my BHR hip, but I have been told that once the cobalt and chromium get into your body the damage has been done,” says Harvey of her continuing medical complications as a result of chemicals spread in her body from the metal-on-metal hip.
Di Harvey is not alone. Andrew Archer, who received a Stryker hip implant at age 41, was forced to undergo 4 follow-up operations in 6 years, including a hip revision surgery, and experiences some of the same metallosis symptoms as Harvey—chest pains, light sensitivity, and fatigue. Lianne Slinger’s metal-on-metal hip replacement led to high levels of cobalt and chromium in her blood, as well as swollen legs, numbness, vertigo and other symptoms. Thousands of metal hip replacement patients in Australia are now pursuing litigation against medical device makers, seeking recompense for their serious, and often life-long, health problems as a result of these defective products.