Suffolk patient’s compensation claim against medical giant

A Suffolk woman has launched a compensation claim against a multinational company after she says she was left in agony by a hip replacement implant that was meant to improve her mobility.

Charlotte Bird, who suffers from osteoarthritis, received a new right hip three years ago, which was supposed to be a new generation of prosthesis intended to last longer.

But the 60-year-old from Eye is now seeking tens of thousands of pounds in compensation from international pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson after receiving metal poisoning from her implant.

The freelance theatre costume supervisor said the last two years had been a 'nightmare' and she had lost earnings and was psychologically damaged because of the complications caused by the company's ASR hip device.

Ms Bird received the metal implant on the NHS in London in September 2007, which was supposed to last around 15 years. But two years later, she had to have revision surgery at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to remove the implant made by the health company's orthopaedic branch, DePuy.

The global firm has since recalled its ASR hip implants because of the number of patients requiring a second hip replacement procedure.

Ms Bird is one of 280 patients across the country who have launched compensation proceedings against DePuy after having to undergo corrective surgery. She said she was 'heartbroken' when the joint seized up during a visit to the Tate Britain gallery in London two years ago and was unable to walk.

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Ms Bird added that the revision surgery last December had involved the removal of muscle around the DePuy implant that had been 'poisoned' by the metal. She added that her mobility had improved enormously following her second right hip replacement operation in two years.

'It is fantastic and I am living a normal life and I could almost run for a bus if I wanted to.'

'Emotionally it has been really hard and I still have nightmares about it. I am terribly aware of how fragile I am and the problems it has left me. Every twinge I worry that it is happening again,' she said.

Ms Bird added that she was hoping for an out of court settlement from DePuy in the near future.

'These companies never apologise, but the apology can come as a signature on a big cheque and I would like someone to say that they screwed up. I am a very chipper person, but I was vile when it was going on and there seemed no way out of it,' she said.

A spokesman for DePuy said the majority of ASR hip replacements had been successful, but figures from the National Joint Registry (NJR) of England and Wales showed a five year revision rate in about 12pc of patients.

A statement said: 'We regret that this recall will be concerning for patients, their family members and surgeons. DePuy intends to cover reasonable and customary costs of monitoring and treatment for services, including revision surgeries, associated with the recall of ASR.'