Hip Replacements Reveal a Dark Truth About the Medical Industry
One night, Janice Tower found her “very caring, giving, honest” husband trashing a hotel room using pens and Sharpies to write all over every surface he could and after, soap to write on the bathroom mirror. Leading up to this moment Dr. Stephen Tower, an orthopaedic surgeon much adored by his patients, had been experiencing a tremor in his non-dominant hand, ringing in his ears and found that he repeated himself a lot. The diagnosis: metal poisoning from a hip replacement.
As an avid cyclist, the metal-on-metal (MoM) DePuy ASR hip enticed him because MoM was
advertised to be more resistant to wear and tear - ideal for athletic people. As far as he was concerned, this newly innovated hip replacement was safe and his best chance of returning to intense cycling. A metal-on-metal hip replacement is typically made of a ball and socket composed of an alloy of chromium and cobalt. When the joint is being used the two surfaces rub against each other and result in metal ions invading the surrounding tissue and entering the bloodstream. While this also happens with metal-on-plastic/polyethylene joints, the potential for harm is much worse when two surfaces are shedding these metal ions as opposed to only one.
After his psychological breakdown, he checked his blood and urine and found that the levels of cobalt in his blood were 100 times more than they should be. Cobalt is found in the body at minuscule amounts as part of vitamin B12 essential for erythropoiesis (making red blood cells) and maintaining a healthy nervous system, but heavy