Hip replacement "ticking time-bomb" for "thousands" of Washington patients

If the Biomet Magnum Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement System was good enough for Olympic champion gymnast Mary Lou Retton, it should have been good enough for 62-year-old Ellen Pardee, whose life was very active until she started having hip pain in 2010.

“Rowing, boating, hiking, going out and taking photos, none of which I could do,” Pardee said, because of the pain she started feeling in her left hip.

However, six months after surgery – during which the Biomet Magnum was implanted to replace her left hip joint --- Pardee’s pain was even worse, she told KIRO 7 on Wednesday.

According to the Bothell woman, it took more than seven years for her doctors to pinpoint that it was most likely the metal on metal Magnum replacement causing the problems, including excruciating pain and heavy metal poisoning.

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“The loss of balance was terrible. I felt nauseous all the time,” Pardee said.

Pardee's doctor opened her up again two weeks later, to examine the hip replacement site and “discovered that I had a huge cyst and a bunch of soft tissue damage caused by the metal on metal hip my doctor had raved about back in 2010,” she said.

According to Danielle Strait of Maglio, Christopher & Toale P.A., metal on metal hip replacements have not been implanted in patients since 2014 because of issues similar to those experienced by Pardee, whom she now represents legally. “There are metal on metal hips that are implanted in people, and we believe it could be thousands in the state of Washington, that we consider to be ticking time-bombs.”

Strait said, patients who may have had a hip replaced by a Biomet Magnum might not even know it, because there has been no recall issued.

“I think there’s still the idea that these implants can work for people,” Strait told KIRO 7, “and some of it is, people just don’t know if the problems that they’re having with their hips are related to these or not.”

Earlier this week, Strait filed a complaint for personal injury against Indiana-based Zimmer Biomet on behalf of Pardee and two other Washington State patients --- and possibly anyone else who may have been impacted.

“We’re hoping those people come forward,” Strait said.

Meanwhile, in August, Pardee's metal on metal Magnum hip was replaced by one lined with plastic. She's still recovering but is hopeful she'll be back to normal in a few months.

“I’m looking forward to everything I’ve missed,” Pardee said.

The media contact for Zimmer Biomet in Warsaw, Indiana, did not return an email seeking comment about the complaint, which was filed in King County Superior Court.