A DePuy executive faced a tough day in court defending whether or not the company did enough to make sure their Pinnacle metal on metal hip replacement was safe, according to Reuters.

Pam Plouhar, VP of Clinical Research at Depuy Orthopaedics, insisted they researched the effects of metal ions to show the Pinnacle MoM hip was safe.  However the plaintiff in this case, Kathy Herlihy-Paoli, faced skyrocketing metal ion levels in her bloodstream after getting 2 metal-on-metal Pinnacle hips.  Her cobalt levels reached 85 times higher than what is considered “normal,” leading to the surgical removal of both her Pinnacle hips.

Under fierce questioning, Plouhar eventually admitted that DePuy did not conduct or review research on the effect of metal debris on humans before 2001. Herlihy-Paoli’s attorney pointed out that Dr. Thomas Schmalzreid, one of the Pinnacle hip designers, called for the company to do more research on the risks of metal debris to patients back in 2001.

Attorneys for the plaintiff have spent the past few weeks making the case that DePuy did not do enough to make sure the MoM Pinnacle hips were safe before selling them to thousands of hip replacement patients in the United States.  So far, about 14% of all Pinnacle MoM hip implants fail within 5 years of surgery.

Attorney Altom Maglio will have more information and analysis on the Pinnacle hip trial from Dallas this week.

Metal on Metal Hip Recalls, News Lawyers Say Not Enough Done to Ensure Safety in Pinnacle Hips