New Claim Added to Zimmer NexGen Knee MDL
A resident of Manhattan, Kansas is the latest plaintiff to join the mounting litigation over the alleged premature failure of Zimmer knee implants. Dinah Terrill filed her complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas on May 25, 2012. Though she filed in Kansas, her case will be consolidated for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the venue for the multidistrict litigation (MDL) over Zimmer’s NexGen knee implants.
Kansas woman claims she suffered Zimmer NexGen knee failure
According to Terrill’s complaint, she was implanted with a multi-component Zimmer NexGen knee device on her right knee on October 5, 2009. The components included the Zimmer NexGen LPS-Flex, the NexGen GSF LPS-Flex, and the NexGen MIS Tibia.
Soon after her initial surgery, Terrill reportedly began to suffer pain, discomfort, and loss of mobility. It was later determined that the implant had become loose and she was required to undergo Zimmer knee revision surgery to repair or replace the failing device. She is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages for her permanent and ongoing injuries. Zimmer knee revision surgery is generally considered to be a more difficult and painful surgery than the original one, requiring a more arduous post-surgery rehab.
If the plaintiff’s Zimmer knee lawsuit is not settled or otherwise resolved as part of the MDL proceedings, it will return to the Kansas court for trial.
Leading surgeon “lost confidence” in Zimmer knees
According to a recent article in the New York Times, problems with the NexGen implants began to emerge as early as 2005. Dr. Richard A. Berger, a surgeon at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a former Zimmer consultant, was among the first in the U.S. to use the uncemented version of the device, known as the CR-Flex. He implanted it in approximately 125 of his patients in 2005, but grew concerned when follow-up X-rays in 2006 revealed lines where the implant was supposed to fuse with the femur, indicating that the implants had failed to fuse and become loose.
Dr. Berger stopped using the device in 2007 and conducted a review of 108 patients. Working with another Rush Medical Center surgeon, Dr. Berger found that 8.3 percent of the patient group required Zimmer knee revision surgery within 2 years. The knee also showed signs of loosening in 36% of the patients, indicating the possible need for future Zimmer knee revision surgery.
Zimmer maintains that instances of early loosening are not due to a design defect, but instead to improper surgical technique. Once a highly paid consultant for the joint manufacturer, Dr. Berger told the Times that he had “lost confidence” in the company.