Hip Infection
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May 4, 2003


Just thought you would like to hear my story. My name is Dave M. At age 16 I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

My Rheumatologist Dr. Melton started me on "gold" shots. I was very successful with this treatment had no problems doing anything at all.

Started to work for a Ford Dealership on my 20th birthday. After 3 years I started having pain in my hips. I was referred by Dr. Melton to Dr. E. Carlson an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Carlson took X-rays of my hips and advised me that pretty soon they would have to be replaced. He wanted me to wait as long as possible due to my age.

After about 6 weeks I went to Dr. Carlson and told him I could deal with the pain anymore. We discussed which one needed to be done first. And since the right side gave the most pain. We decided to do the right side first.

Two weeks later I was admitted to the hospital to have the surgery. I stayed in the hospital for 4 days. Went home and after a month, I was up and walking. After 3 months of recuperation I returned to my job as a line technician at the ford dealership.

The results of the hip replacement surprised me greatly. It was like I had a second chance.

Well, 2 months later I was planning my left total hip replacement. My doctor told me that for some reason the pain of the second surgery always seems worse to the patient. I had the surgery and went home for recuperation.

After about 2 months I noticed the results were not like the first surgery. I still had pain at times that seemed to be getting worse. I thought of it just being like what the doctor told me about the pain being worse the second time.

Well, it took me 4 months this time to get back to work. After about 3 weeks of work the pain was just like before the surgery.

One night after coming home from work I caught the tail end of the news talking bout a recall on Sulzer hip implants. This had me wondering about the implants I had. I had planned to call my doctor the very next morning to inquire about my hips to see if I had the mentioned implants. Before I had the time to call his office I had gotten a call from his nurse. I asked her about the recall but she said she knew nothing about what he wanted to see me about. I went to his office the next day where I was meet by him his nurse and PA, where he informed me about the recall and informed me that both of the hip implants I had were the recalled ones. He ordered X-rays and told me that the left one was loose and was the only one that had to be replaced. The right one didn't need to be because it wasn't loose and was fine.

So a week later I was having a hip revision on my left side. After 3 days I was released from the hospital and the pain was nothing to complain about. After 2 month I had returned to work and was doing fine. Hardly no pain and very active.

I was given a promotion to service manager in August of 2002. At the end of September a year after my last surgery my left hip became very swollen. I had a large blister the size of a golf ball on my left hip. I made an appointment to see my doctor where he ordered some test to see where the problem was. I told him the pain was only from the large blister.

He made an incision to relieve the pressure and the pain went away, but, where the blister was there was a hole the size of a finger. He told me to keep it covered and to keep flushing it with saline solution.

After I had completed the test he advised me that there was an infection at the implant and it had to come out. He told me there was one of 2 things that was gonna happen. They would go in and find the source of the infection, remove it and flush the site and everything would be all right. The other possibility was that they would go in and have to remove the implant and install an antibiotic impregnated implant to kill the infection and would have to have several weeks of home antibiotic IV therapy.

Well, they went in and had to do remove the implant and install the cement spacer. The surgery lasted 7 hours, I needed 10 units of blood and woke up on a ventilator in the ICU ward.

I had never had this much pain before in my life.

During my stay in the hospital I had a pick line put into my chest for the home IV treatment. I was released from the hospital 7 days later. Where I had to have the treatment at home for 7 weeks.

During my first post-op appointment while I was getting on the table. The cement spacer broke and I had to ride in an ambulance to the hospital, where the doctor told me that he didn't want to go ahead and do the operation because the antibiotic haven't had time to work.

I was fitted with a brace to keep my leg from moving at the break. I was released after 3 days and went home.

The surgery to replace the spacer was going to be in January 2003.

My doctor warned me that one of 3 things were gonna happen.

  •  First they would go in and replace the spacer with a spacer install a bone graft and everything would be fine.
  • Second thing that could happen would be the would find that the infection would still be there and I would have to have more antibiotics without doing anything.
  • The last possibility was that there would be to much damage and that they would not be able to do anything.

The surgery went all right and they were able to replace the broken spacer and do a bone graft.

It has been a long recovery there is little pain but more than I should be having.

I was diagnosed in April with a clot in my leg and a pulmonary embolism. I was admitted into the hospital where I was given Blood thinners and had a green filter put into place to catch any other clots to keep them from getting to my heart and lungs. I was released after 7 days and went home on blood thinners.

Two days after I released from the hospital I found out I had ran out of my FMLA leave and that I was terminated. The company I work for has been very good to me and there are no hard feelings about this. I was informed that when I was able to return they would do everything possible to find a job for me back with the company.

I've been walking for about a month now even though my doctor doesn't want me to be putting my full body weight on it yet.

I know that you are aware of the Sulzer recall but I get the feeling that Sulzer is going to keep their name out of the news. I've seen on the Internet that Sulzer claims these implants were made by another company.

During my revision surgery my doctor gave me a souvenir, the ball from the implant with the name Sulzer all over it.

If you can forward this to anyone to get the word out that's fine with me. Sulzer has been dragging their feet ever since the settlement was finalized. Here it has been almost a year since it was finale and I still haven't seen a dime.

                                  Thank You
                                          Dave M

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