Reporting Derrick Blakley
CHICAGO (CBS) — It was supposed to revolutionize hip replacements. Instead, an artificial hip produced by Stryker Medical Devices caused pain and hardship for scores of patients.
Last year, Stryker recalled those implants, but CBS 2′s Derrick Blakley talked to one Chicago woman, for whom the damage was already done.
Three months after removal of the defective Stryker hip implant, Diana Jaras walks with a cane and worries about her medical future.
“It’s something that’s out of my control and it’s hard for me to accept something that’s so bad that’s out of my control,” said Jaras.
She is one and estimated 20,000 U.S. patients fitted with Stryker’s rejuvenate and ABG2 modular hip replacements. It features a titanium stem, the grey part, attached to a gold-colored cobalt neck. That proved to be a dangerous combination.
“Pieces flake off and the two metals together cause the body to react and it also causes the cobalt to leach into the blood stream,” said Jennifer Ashley, Jaras’ attorney.
Before removal, blood tests showed Jaras’ cobalt level at 6.5, 14 times above normal with the metals and chemicals, triggering a tumor-like growth.
“The surgeon told me what normally would take him two hours took him four or five hours because I had a cyst the size of a football,” said Jaras. “The metal that leached out of the replacement, the cobalt, destroyed my tissues.”
Jaras has lived an active life, sailing, biking, hiking, even traveling to Antarctica, but implant destroyed so much muscle, doctors say it’s likely her right leg will never be as strong again.
“Everything just tightens up and hurts and I just want to go back and sit down and cry pretty much,” said Jaras.
When introduced, Stryker said these modular implants would let surgeons better match the replacement hip to the age, weight and medical condition of the patient.
The company has set up a fund to reimburse patients for out-of-pocket costs, but those payments won’t cover pain and suffering or lost wages. That is why Jaras and hundreds of others are suing the company.