Hip implant maker was aware of 40% failure rate

An internal analysis conducted by Johnson & Johnson in 2011 not long after it recalled a troubled hip implant estimated that the all-metal device would fail within five years in nearly 40 percent of patients who received it, newly disclosed court records show.

Johnson & Johnson never released those projections for the device, the Articular Surface Replacement, or A.S.R., which the company recalled in mid-2010. But at the same time that the medical products giant was performing that analysis, it was publicly playing down similar findings from a British implant registry about the device’s early failure rate.

Some folks call that kind of lying “fraud”.

The company’s analysis also suggests that the implant is likely to fail prematurely over the next few years in thousands more patients in addition to those who have already had painful and costly procedures to replace it…

The A.S.R. belonged to a once-popular class of hip implants in which a device’s cup and ball component were both made of metal. While the A.S.R. was the most failure-prone of those implants, surgeons have largely abandoned using such devices in standard hip replacement because their components can grind together, releasing metallic debris that damages a patient’s tissue and bone…

About 7,000 of the A.S.R. lawsuits have been consolidated in a federal court in Ohio. An additional 2,000 cases have been consolidated in a California state court. The California case chosen to go to trial this week was selected because the plaintiff, a man named Loren Kransky, has cancer and may not live much longer, lawyers involved in the case said. DePuy has already settled a few A.S.R. cases before trial and it may choose to do so in Mr. Kransky’s case as well.

About 93,000 patients worldwide received an A.S.R., about one-third of them in the United States…

Aside from the class action liability – which I hope results in suitable replacement, compensation to patients and penalties exacted from Johnson and Johnson – I hope there is concerted action from the government to penalize J&J for the fraud committed by continued lies about the durability of the device if not an equal fraud in getting it approved for implant in the first place.

That should includes fines. That should include prison time for those who made each decision to lie to the government, the medical community and to patients.

Tammy Duckworth applauds end of ban on women in combat

A congresswoman who lost both of her legs while serving in the Illinois Army National Guard in Iraq applauded the Pentagon’s decision to to lift combat restrictions on women.

“The decision to allow women to serve in combat will allow the best man or woman on the frontline to keep America safe,” U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, said in a statement Wednesday. “As a combat veteran, I know the inclusion of women in combat roles will make America safer and provide inspiration to women throughout our country.”

Duckworth was the first woman injured in combat ever elected to national office, when she ousted former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh – a well known fool – this past November.

Duckworth operated a black hawk helicopter in the war in Iraq, one of the few combat roles open to women at the time, serving as a lieutenant in the Illinois Army National Guard. In 2004, during a mission north of Baghdad, the helicopter she was co-piloting was ambushed, struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. She lost both of her legs and partial use of one arm in the attack. Duckworth was awarded decorations for her military service, including the Purple Heart, the Air Medal and the Combat Action Badge.

There has always been some level of opposition to increasing the diversity in our military whether it has been minorities or women. It is clear that the inclusion of groups like African Americans and Asians has made our military stronger,” Duckworth added.

And why not women? By the time this is fully implemented in 2015 folks will be busy electing our military’s next commander-in-chief. Quite probably a woman. 🙂

Lubrizol factory struggles to stop the French Stench

Poo La La

Staff at a chemicals factory in north-western France are working to stop a gas leak that has spread a foul smell to Paris and south-east England…

Thousands of people, from as far away as Paris and London, have complained of nausea and headaches.

The gas is mercaptan, an additive to natural gas said to be harmless…It leaked on Monday from a plant run by a French subsidiary of the US chemicals manufacturer Lubrizol near Rouen, 120km north-west of Paris.

Winds blew the cloud over northern France on Monday night and then into England on Tuesday.

Authorities will investigate what caused the leak and whether the company should be held responsible, the ecology minister said.

Tuesday evening’s French Cup football match between Rouen and Marseille has been postponed because of the stink.

“We did not want to find ourselves with 10,000 fans 2km from the factory and with no means of confining them or evacuating them if necessary,” local government official Florence Gouache told AFP news agency…

There is no word on the cause of the leak. The factory has been closed.

In Britain, the Health Protection Agency said: “The smell drifting over Southern England today poses no risk to public health…”The odour, which is similar to rotten eggs, has been noticed by people mainly in Kent, East and West Sussex and some parts of Surrey.”

Emergency officials in southern Kent advised residents “to keep doors and windows closed due to a gas cloud”.

Phew! Also a favorite homemade boobytrap in high school chemistry classes.