The lawsuit (PDF) was filed by Edward Haffner, a man from Colorado who accuses Stryker Corp. of failing to warn that patients should be tested for metal allergies before they are implanted with the Triathlon Total Knee System.
Judge R. Brooke Jackson of the U.S. District Court for Colorado allowed the lawsuit to proceed based on claims of negligence and failure-to-warn. However, he dismissed claims involving design defect and breach of warranty, ruling that the device was not defective just because some people might be allergic.
Haffner was implanted with the Triathlon during knee surgery in September 2011. His left knee was surgically removed and the Triathlon was implanted in its place. Haffner was not aware that the implant was made from cobalt and nickel. Unfortunately, he was allergic to cobalt and nickel.
As a result, he had to have another total knee replacement surgery. He is now seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, permanent physical impairment, work disability, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Last year, Stryker recalled a cutting guide that was used with the Triathlon knee implant. Only three “reversible” patient injuries were reported. It is possible that patients could receive a poorly-fitted knee implant, which would likely cause symptoms within one year.
As of mid-September, about 1,700 lawsuits involving hip implants were pending against Stryker in federal court, with even more pending in state court in New Jersey. In July 2012, Stryker recalled the Rejuvenate and ABG II hip stems after receiving reports of fretting and corrosion. These complications can cause chronic pain, swelling, tissue reactions, and metal toxicity.
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