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The Silent Suffering: The Profemur Artificial Hip Implant Fiasco

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Anthony Raphael
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The Silent Suffering: The Profemur Artificial Hip Implant Fiasco

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Imagine the horror of having your hip implant fracture unexpectedly, leading to excruciating pain, emergency surgery, and significant financial distress. This is not a hypothetical scenario, but a reality for hundreds of individuals fitted with Profemur artificial hip implants. Bradley Little, a physical education teacher, is one of the victims of this medical nightmare. His Profemur hip implant failed catastrophically, causing severe injuries and necessitating emergency surgery.

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The Profemur Artificial Hip Implant Crisis

Profemur artificial hip implants, once hailed as a boon for those struggling with hip joint problems, have become a source of despair for many patients. Over the past two decades, more than 750 Profemur hips have fractured at the neck, resulting in traumatic repair surgeries. This shocking number suggests a significant failure rate, raising questions about the safety and efficacy of these devices.

The Impact on Patients' Lives

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Patients like Bradley Little have had their lives turned upside down due to the failure of their Profemur implants. The fractures are not minor injuries but catastrophic failures that require hours-long emergency surgeries. These are not only physically and emotionally taxing but also impose a significant financial burden on the patients, with many of them bearing the brunt of high medical bills.

A Delayed Response

Despite the early signs of device failure, the manufacturer and the FDA did not respond with the urgency that the situation demanded. The manufacturer, Wright Medical Technology, initially switched the metal of the modular neck from titanium to a stronger cobalt chromium alloy. However, this did not solve the problem as the necks of these implants also began to break. Furthermore, the company waited for an extended period before recalling the defective parts, thereby increasing the risks to patients.

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The Manufacturer and the FDA

In a move that further complicates the situation, Wright Medical Technology sold its hip and knee implant division to MicroPort, a Chinese company, for $285 million in 2013. Stryker Corp subsequently purchased the rest of Wright in 2020 for around $4 billion. Unfortunately, the FDA has not been forthcoming about the issue. Their refusal to provide an official for an interview or answer written questions about why some Profemur sizes were not permanently recalled raises more questions than answers.

Conclusion

The Profemur artificial hip implant crisis is a stark reminder of the need for rigorous testing and monitoring of medical devices. The delay in responding to the issue, and the subsequent handling of the matter, has resulted in unnecessary suffering for hundreds of patients. It is a call to action for regulatory bodies and manufacturers to ensure the safety and well-being of patients, which should always be the primary concern in healthcare.

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