Glimmer of hope after years of pain for Kiwis sold faulty hip replacements

Dozens of Kiwis sold a dangerously faulty hip implant, may have a new avenue to seek justice, after years of pain and frustration.

Around 400 New Zealanders were given a metal on metal hip replacement called the ASR between 2004 and 2011, and according to ACC a quarter of that number reported injuries relating to the device.

These injuries stemmed from a design flaw in the artificial joint which caused metal flakes to enter the patient's blood and surrounding tissue.

One such Kiwi is Joy Palaskas, who says she still lives with the effects of the ASR, even after having the faulty device replaced.

"I am quite slow walking, older people pass me and they're on zimmer frames,” she told Newshub Nation. “People on zimmer frames walk past me that is how slow I am with a limp."  

The ASR was produced by the American company Depuy, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson.

US Attorney Mark Lanier secured millions in damages from Depuy in lawsuits in the United States, relating to metal on metal hip replacements like the ASR. He told Newshub Nation the company was fully aware of the flaws with their product.

"They knew that, not only would it fail, but when it failed it could lead to catastrophic health consequences for the people who had the implants"

"The companies laughed all the way to the bank because all it means is everybody who bought one, where it failed, had to buy another hip. So we got to sell two for a new one that failed. That's great math for the company."

The ASR was recalled in New Zealand in 2010 with Depuy paying for revision surgeries. But patients sought additional compensation by filing a lawsuit in 2016. However, in April the Court of Appeal ruled that the ACC scheme barred compensation.

But there may yet be a way for patients to seek reparations.

Under the Fair Trading Act, action may be taken against Depuy by the Commerce Commission if patients can show they were given misleading information about the safety of a product.

Ms Palaskas has already made an official complaint and Mr Lanier says he would be more than happy to help in an future legal disputes with Depuy .

"I'll bring the briefcase of documents and testimonies that will make their eyes bulge out, because they'll be flabbergasted to see what's really there"

Newshub Nation.

Watch Newshub Nation 9:30am Saturday/10am Sunday on TV3, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.