Stratton Faxon, Connecticut’s Firm for trial law, helps ex-big league umpire get a fair shake. But the battle is uphill all the way.
When he was officiating the 1998 and 2001 World Series, and during high profile playoff games in both Major Leagues, umpire Mark Hirschbeck was living his dream. The 2001 Fall Classic was the pinnacle of his 15-year-Major League Baseball career. But soon thereafter, his baseball career was sadly in ruins, and even his formerly active lifestyle was gravely compromised. The worst part is it didn’t have to be.
“Mark is just one example of the thousands of patients that have been injured but have limited recourse for justice,” said Joel Faxon, Mark’s attorney with Stratton Faxon, Connecticut’s firm for trial law. Adds Faxon, “It’s ironic that the FDA, the very agency that is supposed to protect consumers from hazardous products like prescription drugs, medical devices, and peanut butter, might have hurt Mark because they approved his faulty hip device.”
Mark’s ordeal began in June 2003, when he underwent a hip replacement surgery after being reassured by doctors that he would be able to return to umpiring in the Major Leagues by the 2004 season. Six weeks later Mark began experiencing ongoing pain in his right hip. Further examination revealed, through no fault of his own, that the ceramic hip that had been implanted had fractured. Mark’s physician testified in a deposition hearing related to the case that the hip should have lasted fifteen years.
The problematic hip was a Class III medical device; the class which supposedly had undergone the most stringent pre-market approval process at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It got worse. Because of complications from an infection suffered while a procedure was undergone to replace the defective hip, Mark was forced to undergo five additional surgeries.
“I was only 43 when this happened to me. I was looking forward to many more World Series and MLB games in my career and a lot of family activities with my three daughters and son,” said Mark, “Now I have trouble even getting down to the ballpark to watch them play.”
Mark has been attempting to help others in similar circumstances by meeting with legislators to discuss the Medical Device Safety Act, a piece of legislation that Joel Faxon also stridently supports because it would restore the rights of thousands of victims of defective medical devices , like heart defibrillators, artificial valves, and prosthetic knees and hips, to seek justice through the civil justice system.