Medical Mistake Claims - Simpson Millar LLP

Bone Cement Hip Replacement Killing Patients

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 18/06/2014

Despite concerns being raised 5 years ago, the NHS continues to use dangerous 'hip replacement cement' on patients who are at risk.

Surgeons Putting Patients at Risk

In 2009, concerns were raised by the now out of commission National Patient Safety Agency, regarding the use of cement during hip replacements on patients who had a fracture at the top to their thighbone.

Many of these patients would have been elderly people who were already at risk of high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms and heart attacks – all risks associated with using this bone cement.

The decision to use the cement to attach the new ball joint to the hip is made by the surgeon performing the operation based on their experience and patient history. Wrong decisions made by surgeons have resulted in 41 deaths, 14 heart attacks in which patients were resuscitated, and 7 who experienced a "peri-arrest" period or near cardiac arrest in which their situation became very dangerous. In most of the cases (89%), within a few minutes of the cement being introduced, the patient deteriorated.

Attaching the joint to the hipbone using cement seems like the easier approach for the patient with a seemingly faster recovery time. However, there are alternative ways for your surgeon to carry out the operation, especially when you may be at risk based on your patient characteristics.

Can I Claim Compensation?

Most of the deaths happened after warnings were given about safety concerns over, 'Bone Cement Implantation Syndrome' showing to some extent that the guidelines that were supposed to be implemented were not effective. Sir Liam Donaldson, former chief medical officer, said that this was an indication that the orthopaedic surgery community believed, the "benefits of cement outweigh the risks."

If you have already had your hip replacement and you start to feel unwell you should contact your GP or go straight to the hospital to see if it is caused by the cement used to attach your hip replacement. Alternatively, it may be the actual hip replacement unit that is causing you pain. In 2012, DePuy metal on metal hip replacement units were recalled due to flaws in their design.

Therefore, if you have had one of these hip replacement units and it was attached using bone cement, you may be at even greater risk of heart problems.

If you have had a hip replacement, or have a relative who has passed away from the symptoms of a bad hip replacement in which cement was used, you may want to consider a claim for compensation. It's no secret that this kind of procedure is not suitable for certain patients, and if you or your relative were put at risk, talk to us to see how we can help.

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