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I received a DePuy ASR hip implant in 2009. The area near my hip implant is stiff and swollen and my orthopedic surgeon says that I need hip revision surgery. He says DePuy will pay for the surgery, and he asked me to sign a release form that will allow my medical information to be shared with DePuy. Should I sign the medical release form?

No.

In August of 2010, DePuy’s ASR Acetabular and Hip Resurfacing systems were recalled after a large number of patients complained about premature failure in the artificial joint. DePuy advised that all patients with the hip system be evaluated in order to determine if the hip needed to be replaced. DePuy also offered to pay any deductibles or co-pays the patient incurred during the examination and/or hip revision surgery. However, patients who wanted DePuy to pay for the exam and surgery were asked to sign a medical release form.

The medical release form allows your doctor to share your confidential medical records with DePuy. But if you sign the form, you give the Johnson & Johnson-owned company unlimited access to all your medical records, past and future. DePuy says that they will use this information to help process your claim and to better understand the problems with the ASR Hip systems. However, the medical information is being given to DePuy’s legal team, not its engineers. The legal team will scrutinize your records to see if there is any way to place the blame for the hip failure on you.

In fact, DePuy is already using patient medical records to minimize the damage to the company. Johnson & Johnson recently offered to pay $2.475 billion to approximately 8,000 patients who have filed lawsuits against the company. DePuy will offer lower settlements to patients who are older, are overweight, or smoke. DePuy considers these patients to be partly at fault for the hip failure.

The pharmaceutical injury attorneys at Hupy and Abraham recommend that you refuse to sign the medical release until you’ve had a chance to discuss your case with your attorney. If you’ve already signed the form, don’t panic. We can help you revoke the permission. To learn more, call Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678. There’s no charge for the consultation.

 

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham