Knee replacement showing plastic linerExactech Inc. (Exactech) is a company that makes various products to repair or replace joints in the human body. Some of Exactech’s biggest selling products have been replacement joints for hips, knees and ankles. Unfortunately, there have been some problems with certain products suffering from premature wear and other issues. This has led to some patients getting revision surgery to fix the issue and repair damage caused to the human body. Exactech has also started various product recalls involving certain knee, ankle and hip implants. I have prepared the following Exactech FAQs so you can learn more about this problem and what to do if you’re affected.

1. What Exactech Products Have Been Recalled?

The recall involves two groups of products. The first group relates to certain batches of Exactech’s Connexion GXL acetabular hip liners. The second group relates to specific ankle and knee polyethylene liners and inserts, many of which were manufactured in 2004 or later. Some of these products have been sold under the following brands:

Marine Corps Camp Lejeune Toxic WaterIt’s been known for a while now that many members of our armed forces and their families were exposed to toxic chemicals from the drinking water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Camp Lejeune). Right now, getting compensation for injuries that resulted from the toxic water exposure is limited.

However, a new law will hopefully change that. The purpose of this blog post is to answer some questions you might have about your rights concerning health issues stemming from contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

1. What Chemicals Contaminated the Water at Camp Lejeune?

U.S. MarinesMarine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Camp Lejeune) is an important military base and training facility for the U.S. Marine Corps. Located on the coast of North Carolina, many Marines and their families have spent extended time at this base. In fact, before law school I was an English instructor at Coastal Carolina Community College, located just a few miles away from Camp Lejeune. I taught hundreds of students who were active-duty Marines or Marine-dependents, and many of them lived or worked on the base.

However, from at least August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987, many of the base residents were likely exposed to toxic chemicals from the drinking water. And this exposure has potentially led to a variety of serious medical issues, including death.

But for the time being, taking legal action for injuries relating to toxic water exposure at Camp Lejeune has been impossible. But the likely enactment of a new federal law should change that.

Oxygen can degrade plastic joint partsBefore we talk about Exactech liners and defective packaging, we need to talk about oxygen. Oxygen is necessary for human life, but it’s a fairly reactive chemical element. We don’t think of oxygen as damaging but it can be very reactive. A perfect example of how reactive oxygen can be is fire. Get most things hot enough and they’ll start to react with the oxygen in the air and oxidize rapidly. In other words, they’ll start to burn.

This reactivity many things have to oxygen is one of the major reasons why there’s a recall for Exactech’s hip, knee and ankle implants. No, they don’t catch on fire, but they may have been exposed to too much oxygen before implantation. This could lead to premature wear, damage to bones and the implant breaking while inside the body.

How did the implants come into contact with too much oxygen? It appears to be the result of faulty packaging. Let’s take a closer look at what was wrong with the packaging and why that has allegedly led to problems with the Exactech implants.

Exactech Hip Liner RecallSeveral years ago I wrote a blog post for my product liability website where I encouraged medical device manufacturers to put me out of business. What I meant by writing that article was to say that I would be happy as a lawyer to move on to other practice areas on the day that medical device companies properly tested their medical devices before they put them on the market, ran the appropriate clinical testing, carefully reviewed the studies that came back, monitored the patients who receive the medical devices, and didn’t misrepresent the products in their marketing and advertising materials.

And if all that occurred and product defect injuries dropped through the floor, then I would happily stop practicing product liability litigation and move on to other practice areas. Or go work at my neighborhood bookstore (Quail Ridge Books).

But I also said in that article that it’s unlikely that I would be changing my line of work any time soon, and that was six years ago. And here we are, today, and it’s still the case that there is plenty of work for me to do.

Farmer Applying ParaquatIf you follow my blog, you’ve probably heard about paraquat. If you’re unfamiliar with paraquat, it’s a highly toxic herbicide that may cause Parkinson’s disease. As you might imagine, this potential link is alarming and has led to quite a few lawsuits. Let’s take a look at the current status of these paraquat cases.

Paraquat Lawsuits Begin

It’s undisputed as to the harm paraquat can cause when humans are exposed to it in large amounts over a short period of time. But much of the current litigation concerns plaintiffs who were exposed to paraquat for extended periods, such as when using it often while working on a farm. Due to this long-term exposure, plaintiffs are claiming that paraquat caused their Parkinson’s disease.

Exactech plastic liner in artificial hip system
Earlier I wrote about how Exactech was recalling many of its ankle, hip and knee liner implants. These recalls were based, at least in part, on several studies about how these implants could suffer from premature wear. This could then require patients to need revision surgery (surgery to repair problems from an earlier surgery) to fix the defective artificial joint.

In this blog post, I’ll take a look at some of these studies and try to explain what these studies found, what their findings mean and why they prompted Exactech to initiate these recalls.

The Materials Used in the Hip, Knee and Ankle Inserts or Liners

Exactech Inc. (Exactech) began as a company in 1985 and focuses on developing products for joint replacement. Many of Exactech’s products are used for ankle, knee and hip arthroplasty (surgery to repair or replace a joint in the human body).

Exactech recall polyethylene liners
Many of Exactech’s joint replacement products have performed well and improved the lives of patients. But over the last fear years, Exactech has learned from multiple studies that some of its ankle, knee and hip products can suffer from premature wear or other problems. Many of these issues could result in the need for patients to undergo revision surgery to replace the device and repair any damage it may have caused to the bone and/or soft tissue.

Exactech has initiated various recalls in response to these problems. The purpose of this blog post is to provide a brief overview of which products have been affected, what’s wrong with these products and what you can do if you’ve had one implanted into your body.

Zantac and cancerIn any product liability litigation, the injured person must ultimately prove that the injury was caused by the defective product (legal causation). A relatively easy example is when a lamp explodes and burns an individual, and in the post-explosion investigation the plaintiff discovers the lamp’s wiring was faulty and unreasonably dangerous. In the Zantac (ranitidine) multi-district litigation (MDL), thousands of plaintiffs have come forward alleging that use of the heartburn medication caused their various cancers. I discussed how Zantac is alleged to cause cancer in previous posts. You can start here if interested. In a nutshell, however, studies have shown that Zantac may contain potentially dangerous levels of NDMA (N-Nitrosodimethylamine), which is a likely carcinogen in humans.

There are several ways that NDMA is thought to be present in Zantac medication, which you can read about here. The larger point is simple: you do not want to ingest NDMA, and you certainly do not want to ingest large amounts of NDMA, especially for months or years. Remember, millions of people have taken Zantac or the generic ranitidine, some for many years, so the potential consumer-health risk is widespread. Zantac has been recalled.

Because these studies link Zantac to NDMA, plaintiffs who used Zantac and later developed one of several cancers (reasonably) came forward and filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of Zantac. The original Master Complaint listed at least sixteen different cancers, with indications that the list was not exhaustive.

iStock-512117406-300x200Claims of ovarian and other cancers due to talcum powder or baby powder use have been in the news a lot lately. There has also been plenty of litigation stemming from this possible link.

Although talcum powder studies are ongoing, it has been established that some products that use talcum powder may contain small amounts of asbestos. And there’s a well-known link between asbestos and cancer (especially mesothelioma).

So where does Johnson & Johnson come in? Well, they’ve been one of the more prominent defendants in these talcum powder/asbestos cancer lawsuits. Let’s take a quick look at the baby powder litigation and then examine how Johnson & Johnson is planning to use something called “Project Plato” to deal with their recent legal and financial losses.

Client Reviews
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I was involved in a case for the faulty hip replacements. Clay Hodges represented me. I can't say enough about how much he has helped me. Clay was able to win multiple settlements on my behalf with most of them being the maximum amount able to be awarded. Matt J.
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Clay, thank you sir for making a disheartening experience at least palatable, you and your staff were honest, caring and understanding through the entire process of my wife’s hip replacements, while monetary settlements never make the pain and suffering end, it sometimes is the only way people can fight back to right a wrong. J. V.
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We are absolutely pleased with how Clay Hodges handled my husband’s hip replacement claim. He always kept us informed of the progress. And, his work resulted in a settlement which we are extremely pleased. Thank you, Clay! Carol L. & Norm L.
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