Kristen Schmid/The New York Times/Redux
Thomas Dougherty represents the growing number of patients that are experiencing the high cost of failing artificial hips. Dougherty underwent an operation to replace his artificial hip that failed, but his pelvis fractured. The replacement hip was abandoned and then a serious infection set in, costing thousands of dollars in hospitalizations and doctor bills.
The metal-on-metal hips like Dougherty’s are failing at high rates within a few years instead of lasting 15 years or more.
According to the New York Times, medical and legal experts estimate the hip failures may cost taxpayers, insurers, employers and others billions of dollars in coming years, which contributes to the rising cost of health care.
Lawsuits and complaints against makers of all-metal replacement hips have passed the 5,000 mark. Insurers are alerting patients that they plan to recover their expenses from any settlement money that patients receive. Medicare is also expected to try to recover its costs.
Also of Interest: 6 ways to prevent a hip fracture.>>