We are now on the third or fourth day of the trial. Today, we heard once more from Andrew Ekdahl, ex-CEO of DePuy and defendant in the case. He was responsible for the hip unit when the Pinnacle was first launched. This is his second day on the stand.
If you followed our previous video updates, an argument the defendants are making is the reason the plaintiff’s hips failed is a result of the surgeon’s error and not the DePuy Pinnacle. The plaintiff’s attorney, Mark Lanier, was cross-examining Mr. Ekdahl. Mr. Lanier asked him about the warnings and literature regarding the DePuy Pinnacle hip. Mr. Ekdahl admitted the literature lacks sufficient material concerning the dangers of implanting the hips at the wrong angle. Mr. Lanier demonstrated there were discrepancies in the literature.
In the literature, they told doctors the hip should be implanted between 10 and 20 degrees, and then at another point 10 to 30 degrees. Mr. Ekdahl could not explain this discrepancy and basically said it was a typo. This typo was distributed to approximately 7,000 surgeons. This was powerful testimony.
Another aspect of trial focused on a series of emails that came out between 2008 and 2010. During this time period, DePuy is receiving reports the hips are failing. DePuy was placing the surgeon at fault instead of looking at or trying to see if their product was defective in some way. DePuy was saying the surgeons were lazy and implanting the hips at the wrong angle. There were emails between various individuals stating DePuy was losing credibility in the medical community about the angles. The medical community did not agree with DePuy’s position the hips were failing secondary to the angles.
DePuy then decided to create an “education campaign”. They wanted to educate surgeons on the importance of implanting these cups at the right angle. This was in stark contrast to DePuy’s opening statement where they told everyone the appropriate angles are well known. The emails proved DePuy was contemplating starting an educational program about the angles which DePuy previously considered obvious knowledge. The emails also showed the individuals in charge of the education campaign asked engineers and surgeons for advice on the ideal angle for their own hip. This substantiates DePuy, or their engineers, didn’t even know the appropriate angle for these hips years after it was released. This undercut DePuy’s defense that surgeons know the appropriate angle and the surgeon was at fault.