Cobalt toxicity is a type of metallosis, or metal toxicity condition. It occurs when too much cobalt enters the body. Initial symptoms of cobalt toxicity may include:
- Upset stomach
- Kidney toxicity
- Multi-organ toxicity
Cobalt toxicity can also lead to further medical complications, including:
- Tissue and bone degeneration
- Failure of medical implants
- Organ failure, which may require surgery
- Nerve problems
- Cognitive impairment
The term “cobalt poisoning” refers to excess cobalt or chromium in the blood and tissues of the body which can cause tissue destruction. Studies have shown that metal-on-metal hip implants corrode over time, releasing cobalt into the bloodstream. When a person walks, the metal parts of these implants grind against each other, increasing the levels of cobalt in the bloodstream.
The original reason for choosing cobalt for hip replacements was that it was durable and less susceptible to corrosion than other materials.
Since then, medical experts have discovered that metal-on-metal implants have a significantly higher rate of failure than other types of implants, such as ceramic or plastic. In many cases, patients have had to undergo corrective surgery to replace or revise these implants; surgeons suggest that metal blood poisoning is the ultimate cause. According to some experts, all recipients of metal-on-metal implants should get regular blood tests to detect metal poisoning.
Metal-on-metal hip replacements can cause cobalt poisoning, a severe and dangerous side effect. Cobalt toxicity can cause severe pain, bone and tissue death, and other serious symptoms. The most severe cases can leave patients permanently blind, deaf, or suffering from other conditions such as degenerative heart disease and memory loss.
If you or someone you love has a metal-on-metal hip implant, you should watch out for signs of cobalt poisoning and get periodic blood tests to detect excess cobalt levels and negative side effects.
An experienced medical device defect attorney can assist you if you or someone you love is experiencing negative effects from a metal-on-metal hip replacement. They will work hard to ensure that you and your family receive the compensation you deserve.
What Are Some Common Causes of Cobalt Toxicity?
Symptoms of cobalt poisoning typically begin mildly and worsen gradually over time. Before experiencing more debilitating symptoms, a patient may feel a mild burning sensation or hip pain. Periodic blood tests are strongly recommended for anyone with a metal-on-metal implant to catch blood poisoning at its earliest stages, especially if they have begun experiencing any of the known symptoms or other forms of discomfort around their implant.
If you experience cobalt poisoning after receiving your implant, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by the implant.
One of the most common causes of cobalt toxicity is metal-on-metal hip replacement implants where both the ball and socket parts of the joint are replaced by metal components. Sometimes, these types of hip implants shed metal substances, including cobalt, which leak into the bloodstream. The metal-on-metal implants may also shed other metals, such as chromium.
Cobalt toxicity can also result from other types of surgically implanted medical devices, including other joint replacement mechanisms such as knee implants.
Who Can be Held Liable for Heavy Metal Poisoning?
Heavy metal poisoning can be caused by a variety of parties. In many cases, heavy metal poisoning is caused by a product defect.
The most common cause of this is when a medical implant fails, such as a knee implant that leaks heavy metals into the bloodstream. In such instances, the manufacturer of the implant may be held liable under a product defect legal theory.
In other cases, pharmaceutical professionals may be held liable for negligence if they prescribe a drug that they know or should have known might cause heavy metal poisoning. In such cases, a malpractice suit might follow.
What Are Some Types of Injuries Associated With Hip Implants?
Hip implants or hip replacements may cause the following types of injuries:
- Hip or leg pain that persists
- Radiating hip pain to other parts of the body (especially the lower back)
- Muscles in the upper thigh that feel like they are “dead” (stiff, rope-like muscles)
- Blood contamination such as cobalt toxicity (from the metal used in the implants)
Are There Any Legal Consequences for Cobalt Toxicity?
Cobalt toxicity claims raise several legal issues. Manufacturers of hip replacements are sometimes responsible for cobalt toxicity. Several product recalls have been associated with particular medical implant brands, such as DePuy and Stryker.
These products may also be involved in class action lawsuits for consumers who have been injured or suffered economic losses due to cobalt toxicity. Legal consequences and remedies often include a damages award to compensate the plaintiff for their injuries.
What Are the Legal Remedies for Heavy Metal Poisoning Injuries?
Injuries caused by heavy metal poisoning are serious and can have long-term health consequences. They may lead to a lawsuit against the responsible party. In such lawsuits, the injured party will typically receive a monetary award for damages. An award may cover medical expenses, hospital and treatment bills, and other losses such as lost wages.
Cases involving multiple people can have other consequences, such as product recalls, license revocations, and other similar remedies.
Product Recalls and Lawsuits
Due to the high failure rate of metal hip replacements, most manufacturers no longer sell them. Patients’ injuries not only resulted in widespread negative media coverage, increased research studies, and increased government regulation, but thousands of patients also filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of the defective replacement hips. A few manufacturers have already settled lawsuits. DePuy Orthopedics, for example, has agreed to settle claims for $2.5 billion with Johnson and Johnson (the parent company). Other metal hip replacement manufacturers are still facing lawsuits.
In the event that you have suffered a personal injury or illness as a result of an artificial hip replacement or other medical devices, make sure to contact a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in this area of law in order to find out whether you may be entitled to monetary compensation. If you have not yet experienced any pain or difficulty, you may still be entitled to a new replacement joint as well as damages.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Cobalt Toxicity Lawsuit?
Cobalt toxicity can have serious health consequences, as well as legal repercussions. You may need to hire a defective products lawyer in your area if you need help resolving any legal issues or conflicts. To determine what types of legal remedies you have available, your attorney can research the laws in your area. If you need to appear in court, your lawyer can also offer legal advice and representation.
As mentioned before, the symptoms of cobalt toxicity typically start slow and develop over time. If you have metal replacement parts in your body, it’s important that you look after your health and get frequent blood testing done. Do not try to handle a products liability claim on your own, especially when your health is at stake. Contact an experienced attorney through LegalMatch today.