TV Shows Helps Solve Medical Mystery Involving Metal Hip Implant

Biomet Hip Implant

Biomet Hip Implant

A recent article reveals that in some cases, watching TV can actually be good for your health, especially if the person watching is your doctor. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, one German man is alive today thanks to his doctor’s viewing of the Fox television show House.

The 55-year-old German man began suffering from heart failure back in May of 2012 and a host of doctors struggled to understand the underlying cause. Tests revealed that the man’s ejection fraction, meaning the amount of blood being pumped by his heart, was at 25 percent, well below a healthy person’s 70 percent rate.

Beyond his serious heart trouble, the man was also suffering from a thyroid problem, had terrible acid reflux, suffered from swollen lymph nodes in his hips, had a fever and was nearly deaf. The array of symptoms stumped doctors who were unable to find any issue that could be responsible for every condition.

However, the doctors responsible for the man’s care have since written an article in the medical journal Lancet, where they explained how they were finally able to solve the mystery. Several years earlier, the doctor said that he had screened an episode of the show House to his medical students where a patient, played by Candice Bergen, suffered from heart failure and other symptoms that were eventually linked to metal poisoning. The brilliant Dr. House then realized that though the woman had been treated for metal poisoning in the past, the problems continued because the poison was coming from the artificial hip she had recently had implanted.

The man’s medical team then went through his records and noticed that in 2010 he had undergone a hip replacement procedure. At that time, doctors swapped the man’s artificial ceramic hip for an all-metal version. The light bulb went off and doctors ordered a radiograph test, which uncovered signs of metal debris in the man’s body. A blood test found that he had cobalt concentrations that were more than 1,000 times higher than normal as well as chromium levels 100 times higher than they were supposed to be.

The man was given chelation therapy to slowly remove metal fragments from his bloodstream and later had his metal hip replaced with yet another ceramic model. The surgery revealed that the all-metal implant had been seriously degraded and that metal pieces had slowly been falling off the crumbling device for months if not years.

The conclusion of the Lancet article was that doctors should consider cobalt poisoning as a potential cause of heart failure in those patients who have received all-metal hip implants. The results are alarming to the tens of thousands of patients across the country who have received metal hip implants from medical device manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson, DePuy, Striker or Biomet. Given the serious risks that have been uncovered involving all-metal hip implants, it’s critical that patients with the implanted devices seek out the advice of a medical professional as soon as possible.

If you or someone you know have been injured by a defective product and you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, please contact the Georgia product liability litigation attorneys at Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison & Norwood, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation.

Source: “Paging Dr. House! TV doc credited with saving man poisoned by cobalt,” by Karen Kaplan, published at LATimes.com.

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Michael L. McGlamry

The TV show "House" helped save a German man poisoned by cobalt. Full Bio