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Profemur Artificial Hip Implants: A Health Crisis in Need of Accountability and Regulation

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Ethan Sulliva
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Profemur Artificial Hip Implants: A Health Crisis in Need of Accountability and Regulation

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Imagine the shock and fear of suddenly collapsing, unable to walk, due to the unexpected failure of your hip implant. This is a terrifying reality for hundreds of patients who have had Profemur artificial hip implants installed. These implants, once hailed as innovative solutions for hip replacement surgeries, have caused severe complications due to fractures and failures, leading to emergency surgeries, long-term health problems, and even lawsuits against the manufacturer.

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The Profemur Artificial Hip Implants: Failure and Fractures

Profemur artificial hip implants were known for their innovative feature – dual modular necks. This was supposed to modernize total hip replacement surgery, offering better customization. However, over the past two decades, more than 750 Profemur hips have fractured at the neck, leaving patients unable to walk and in dire need of emergency surgery. These repair surgeries can be traumatic, costly, and lead to ongoing health complications.

One such case involved Bradley Little, a physical education teacher who collapsed in the hallway of the middle school where he taught due to a failed hip implant. The implant had a 2-inch long 'neck' that connected his leg to his hip, and the broken implants embedded in the bone, causing excruciating pain and necessitating a painful surgical repair.

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Manufacturer’s Responsibility and FDA Oversight

The original manufacturer of Profemur, Wright Medical Technology, switched the metal of the modular neck from titanium to a stronger cobalt chromium alloy. This change in material, however, did not prevent the failures. Reports of Profemur’s titanium modular necks breaking inside U.S. patients date back to at least 2005, but the recalled parts were not pulled from the market until 15 years later, if at all.

Even more concerning, at least 28 sizes of the Profemur artificial hips with a dual modular neck have allegedly fractured or corroded, but just 11 sizes have been permanently recalled according to FDA data and records. This raises significant questions about the oversight and regulation of medical device safety.

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Legal Repercussions and the Need for Better Regulation

These failures and the subsequent delay in recalls have led to severe criticism of the manufacturers, Wright Medical and its successor, MicroPort. The companies have faced numerous lawsuits, with 180 filed in federal court in the past decade alleging Profemur modular necks broke or corroded. These lawsuits are a stark reminder of the real-world implications of these failures.

Furthermore, the role of the FDA in monitoring and responding to this health crisis has come under scrutiny. The delay in recalls and the continued availability of defective products on the market highlight the need for better regulation and accountability in the medical device industry.

In conclusion, the failure of Profemur artificial hip implants is a pressing health issue that underscores the imperative need for improved medical device safety regulations. Manufacturers and regulatory bodies must be held accountable to ensure that such health crises are prevented in the future. The health and wellbeing of patients depend on it.

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