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U.S. is Costly Place to Have Joint Replacement Surgery

In this heated presidential election season, we are hearing about a lot of healthcare issues in terms of insurance and whether there should be a universal healthcare system or private insurance. One of the issues that is brought up from time to time has to do with the fact that Americans seem to pay more for drugs and medical procedures than people in other countries.

surgery1According to a recent news feature from Family Practice News, a trade publication for primary care physicians, having a total knee or total hip replacement surgery in the United States costs more on average than it does in a group of six other countries in the industrial world. The price was higher in the U.S. by a long shot.  For example, the average price of a total hip replacement in the U.S. was $29,000 as compared to the same procedure in Switzerland at just over $20,000, and this was the next most expensive country in the group of six selected as part of the study.  While it is true that every country has a different economic situation, a spokesperson for the International Federation of Health Plans states that there is no reason for this and blames the higher costs in the U.S. on a healthcare market that is not properly regulated.   However, it should be noted that health insurance companies founded the International Federation of Health Plans, and it still represents these companies’ interest.  In other words, by regulation of the healthcare industry, it is likely that they mean getting doctors, medical device makers, and drug companies to charge less for their services and not necessarily increase any regulation of the U.S. insurance market, which has very little regulation at this time.

Regardless of the cost of a total hip replacement surgery, and who is paying for the operation, the patient has very little chance of a successful outcome if the doctor inadvertently implanted a defective artificial hip.  For example, as our Boston hip replacement injury attorneys have seen, the DePuy ASR or Pinnacle hip had serious design defects that led to a significant amount of pain and suffering for many products liability victims. This hip was designed with a metal-on-metal joint.  The reason for this was that it was marketed have a smoother operation than traditional cement-based designs, allowing patients to live a more active lifestyle.

However, as one might expect, metal on metal is not always so smooth, as it can start to grind.  When it starts to grind, it begins to break down and emit small metal shavings.  These metal shavings or shards can cause serious health consequences and can also lead to a complete failure of the artificial hip joint.

In some cases, the shards would enter the bloodstream and lead to a serious infection known as metalosis.  In other cases, the metal shards would become embedded in patient’s tissue, causing significant pain and suffering.  In other cases, the defects would lead to a total joint failure.  This would mean the patient would have to undergo a second or even third surgery to have the joint removed and replaced once again.

Call the Boston Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

United States an expensive place for knee, hip replacement, September 15, 2016, By Richard Frankl, Family Practice News

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