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There was partying in Chicago last month and you can bet that the folks at Zimmer Holdings – sponsors of the party and manufacturers of artificial knees that fail with frightening regularity – toasted the fortune they made. But how much of that fortune was at the expense of innocent patients?

Last month was the 10-year anniversary of The Zimmer Institute, which the company holds each year to train medical professionals in surgical techniques – featuring Zimmer products. The institute has trained more than 100,000 surgeons, according to the company’s literature.

How many of those surgeons told Zimmer about the fail rate of its knee replacement products? Court records suggest many, including Richard Berger, a doctor who not only installed Zimmer placement knees, but also designed tools and joints for the company. He was paid $8 million over 10 years by Zimmer, by the way, until he notified the company that its NexGen artificial knee was defective and failing prematurely.

Berger even published a study proving the defect in the Zimmer knee replacement.

Dr. Berger is not the only orthopedic surgeon concerned about defective Zimmer artificial joints. Dr. Lawrence Dorr in Los Angeles alerted Zimmer years ago that its artificial hip was failing after only a few years.

Zimmer blamed the defects and failures of its hip and knee replacements on the surgeons' technique, rather than the artificial joints. However, Zimmer's chief scientific officer previously praised Dr. Berger, saying "Rich has a very clever set of hands, and because of that he is enabled with the ability to innovate surgical techniques." Zimmer even hired Berger to train hundreds of orthopedic surgeons to use Zimmer medical devices and his technique was profiled on ABC's World News Tonight.

Read More:

[More on Zimmer Knee Problems]

© Copyright 2013 Brett A. Emison

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