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Chromium Related Illness Compensation Claims

Can chromium related illness compensation claims be made for illnesses resulting from metal on metal hip replacements? If so, how much compensation can be claimed?

Over the past two years there have been a considerable number of chromium related illness compensation claims made due to microscopic particles of chromium released into the blood stream from metal on metal hip replacements. Originally claims for chromium related illness were limited to the now recalled DePuy hip replacement systems, but in recent months claims have been made for metal on metal hip replacements in general.

In 2010, the DePuy hip replacement recall was organised due to a number of health problems caused by the devices; including illnesses caused by metal ions released into the blood stream. Warnings have now been released on all metal on metal hip replacements for the same reasons. Although not all recipients of metal on metal hip replacements will develop illnesses from the release of chromium ions into the blood stream, there is a significant chance of developing metal poisoning from the devices. When metal ions such as chromium are released into the blood stream they can cause considerable organ damage; in particular to the thyroid and the kidneys.

Chromium related illness compensation claims can be made when recipients of metal on metal hip replacements develop health problems due to metal ions released by the metal on metal hip devices. Anyone who has had a metal on metal hip replacement is now being advised to seek yearly checkups for 5 years after the operation to check for chromium ions in the blood.

In order for a claim for chromium related illness compensation to be made, an orthopaedic surgeon will need to check for the presence of metal ions using joint aspiration, imaging tests or blood tests. If these tests demonstrate that chromium ions have entered the blood stream, and ‘on the balance of probability’ have caused an injury or harm to come to a patient, you should be entitled to claim compensation for chromium related illness.

Chromium related illness compensation claims for metal on metal hip replacements should be assessed by a medical negligence solicitor to determine eligibility to claim. A medical negligence solicitor will also be able to calculate the amount of compensation which can be claimed. Compensation values can only be calculated after a potential claim has been properly assessed, and any compensation awards will depend not on the level of chromium ions which have entered the blood stream, but on how these have affected an individual. People have different reactions to metal ions, and the nature of the injuries sustained will see the value of chromium related illness compensation claims vary significantly from case to case.