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Faulty hip implants force hospital to redo 200 surgeries

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More than 200 people who had artificial hip replacements at a Freiburg clinic will have to go under the knife once again due to faulty implants, the RkK regional hospital association reported on Monday.

About one third of those who have had joint replacement surgery between 2004 and 2008 at the city's Loretto hospital will be affected by the defect after two studies showed that metal shavings could separate from the implant.

Neither the clinic nor doctors there are at fault for the problem, the hospital said.

In the last 20 years this "hasn't happened a single time" with other prostheses, said surgeon Marcel Rütschi, who has replaced more than 3,000 artificial hips during his career.

148 words remaining. Click to read the full article.

Note: Comments posted below will also be published on The Local.

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i'm just over one year since my BHR procedure...i've been snowboarding once and plan to start playing footy again soon. i am certain i could have done it at 6 months but didn't want to "void the warranty". ;)

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Brilliant.... that's what I was hoping for as well and hoping the next will work better. Gone from active sport (marathons, tennis, gym etc.) to sitting in cafes while my teenagers ski :-(

sad to hear that. was it a full replacement? i got away with just a bit of "resurfacing" which makes it sound as if they did a bit of a hip manicure but it was as invasive as a full replacement, just only lost 25% of the top o' the femur.

zeeklafreak: And to think that you're roughly 93 years old!

pshaw...don't feel a day over 85. HUZZAH!

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I rencently helped with a translation on this subject. Apparently it's much easier to get medical devices - hip replacements, breast implants, pacemakers, etc, registered in the EU than in the US. At the moment the EU is considering a regulation to deal with the problem, which the German statutory health insurance funds consider to be inadequate. It's been suggested that patients in Germany are in effect guines pigs for countries with more rigorous registration procedures.

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The doctors may or may not be at fault in this case but in view of the number of medical malpractice cases I have seen/heard/read of in the media since I have been in Germany (24+ years), I am forced to conclude that medical training here leaves quite a lot to be desired.

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I had a MMT hip implant done in the UK in 2004 and it's still going strong :)

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It's been suggested that patients in Germany are in effect guinea pigs for countries with more rigorous registration procedures.

Over about the last 15 years I have been noticing a slowly growing number of press, radio and television reports and interviews discussing this, and it's related themes. The primary critical voices seem to be, somewhat unexpectedly, senior Professor Dr.s of surgery and orthopedics from both university and private hospital clinics.

I was just reading a letter to the press from a Professor Reiner Dreher criticizing the German hospitals for investing too much in (non-essential) operations and offering too little in the way of devotion(to patient well-being).

Shocking statistics: 3.2 Million (20%) increase in surgical operations from 2005 - 2011 to 15 Million. DOUBLE the EU average for artificial hip replacements. FIVE TIMES as many spinal disk operations as France. World leader in surgical treatment measures. Yet he says, according to the Krankenhausbarometer, almost a third of German clinics made a loss in 2011. There are many German surgeons and Professors of orthopedics and neurology on record as being very critical of the efficacy levels of spinal disk surgery as the number of people who permanently lose part of their spinal functionality equates to a reduced quality of life and increased long-term future care cost.

2B

Judging by the apparent total lack of participants offering any counter arguments there appears to have been a 'wall of silence' policy adopted by the regulatory bodies, medical device, health insurance and hospital industries. Considering that it would appear to be in the interest of at least one or two of those parties to take a strong public position on the issue this has done nothing to reduce my own growing levels of suspicion and skepticism vis-á-vis the German medical industry.

Example of, what I suspect is, the need to justify the costs of high-tech diagnostics by keeping machines and stations busy (sorry about the length):

In 2009 I started to experience a deterioration in the performance of my heart (congenital heart failure being the root cause) and, as my own old school cardiologist was retiring, I signed on with a new, and much younger, one at very high-tech group cardio practice. After a half-day of intensive tests she recommended some changes in my medication regime. As these changes required to be introduced under controlled monitoring she immediately took steps to organise a bed for me at the local Uni-Klinik.

The following week, on a Friday, I duly presented myself, but apart from basic weight, height, blood, urine and ECG checks nothing happened until the Monday. Anticipating another 10 yrs free of concern on the implantation front (it was 6 months since replacement of my 2nd (battery end of life) heart pacemaker) I was flabbergasted on hearing from the head of dept that I was there to be evaluated*, by means of a battery of intensive procedures, for the implantation of an ICD (Implantable Cario Defibrillator).

An ICD device acts as a pacemaker in addition to functioning as a 24/7 monitoring stand-by defibrillator and I was told during the week it would cost as much as a middle class Mercedes. I knew they were used for people who had developed similar symptoms to me, but also believed that my own condition did not meet the prescribed need for an ICD. I used the time between appointments to do some medical library research and, having confirmed my suspicions, decided to reject the opportunity to have that expensive device wasted on me.

When, having been moved to a bed in the pre-Op area of a different station on a Friday evening, I told the station duty houseman that I would be leaving in the morning he was flabbergasted. When I said I needed to go to Scotland to sort out urgent family matters (I’d heard 8 days before of my father’s death) he insisted on writing into my discharge report that he had issued me with a ban from flying. I told him I thought that was a bit OTT and his response was to tell me, “ Ah, but now, if a flight is interrupted because you are taken ill, you will be paying all the added expenses of the airline and everyone else on board – also zighundert-tausend Euros, Herr 2B!” Arrogant and ignorant twat! As if I wasn’t well aware of the fact that no Ryan Air pilot would ever dare to ground a plane between (Frankfurt) Hahn and (Glasgow) Prestwick.

*During the week I had got a look at the introductory letter my new cardiologist had sent to the head of dept. at the Klinik. She had, despite telling me otherwise, indeed requested this work-up be done. Her reasoning included the info that she was of the opinion that I should not be considered for a heart transplant in view of my past history of depression and the fact that in 5 years I would have passed the age limit for heart transplantation in Germany.

It was so good of you to let me know that, Fr.Dr.. Oh, you didn’t? Well, thanks for your stellar example of a trust-based Dr-patient relationship. Boosted my confidence in your abilities and the motives of the German medical system no end… NOT.

There's no doubt in my mind that German hospitals are amongst the best-equipped in the world and that there are a large number of very highly skilled and well-trained mid-level and senior physicians working in them. However, not unlike in the UK, the junior doctors are worked to near exhaustion and medical students also have to be very motivated, dedicated and willing to invest much of their time out of the class in researching and revising that vital stuff they couldn't hear in their large crowded lecture theatres.

I do suspect that the financial interests of hospital shareholders, medical device and diagnostic equipment makers, global pharma giants and the senior physicians professional associations all take priority over the patient's interests, but I don't understand the health insurers position. The inertia of politicos is easier to understand as they are subjected to continuous gold-star lobbying by medical experts to whom they no doubt defer on the basis that, "Hey, they're doctors! even if the white coats they're wearing are invisible."

2B

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