Learning Lab Denmark - INCUBEus

Boneloc

In the late 1980ís a Danish doctor invented a new type of cement for hip surgeries. It was considered a significant progress, because the new cement was easier to work with for doctors and nurses.

It was implemented by opening a hole in the patientís thigh bone and filling the hole with Boneloc cement, in which a prosthesis was subsequently fixed.

It became evident early in the process that the Boneloc cement was not strong enough and that it would therefore disintegrate inside the thigh bone.

Thus, many patients had their situation worsened by the surgery because the crumbling cement damaged the bone from the inside, preventing the patients from walking and decreasing their chances of having a succesfull second operation.

It turned out that patients operated with Boneloc would be 2.5 times more likely to need a second operation.

The cement was never tested before it was introduced and even though its effects were well-known, the patients were not informed. Several hospitals stopped using Boneloc and warned the Danish National Health Service, but the cement was used on 4,500 patients until 1995.

The case had several consequences. A new law was introduced, ensuring compensations for the victims. The doctor who had invented and produced Boneloc was put on trial, accused of stealing the DKK 1.6 mill. he had been given for testing of the product, but these tests never took place.

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Links and references:

Inventor of Boneloc reported to the police (in Danish):
http://www.danske-nyheder.dk/arkiv/1996.12.02.html

News coverage in engineering newsletter (in Danish):
http://cph.ing.dk/arkiv/010925/medkritik.html

Plea in the Danish Parlament (in Danish):
http://www.folketinget.dk/Samling/19981/salen/F6_B...

New law concerning compensation to Boneloc-patients (in Danish):
http://www.jur.ku.dk/sundhedsret/Lov%20om%20erstat...

Card: Boneloc
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