Who? Kevin Timms, 27, product liability solicitor at the London office of national firm Irwin Mitchell.
Why is he in the news? He is acting for hundreds of patients with serious health problems following the surgical fitting of unregulated metal-on-metal hip replacements.
He and other members of the product liability team are taking legal action against private and NHS hospitals that allowed surgeons to build hip devices from components produced by different manufacturers – components that are often incompatible and untested.
As long ago as 2007, the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) warned that the use of such off-label, mix-match devices was likely to be dangerous, and yet Timms’ clients were fitted with such devices in 2008 and 2009.
He said: ‘It seems that while the issue was talked about, no action was taken to educate healthcare professionals about the risks or to give them guidance on other options. The case raises the question of whether the MHRA is adequately using its powers to ensure that patients are properly protected from harm – and whether medical professionals are listening to the concerns being raised by the regulator.’
Thoughts on the case: ‘This only came to light after patients contacted us for help regarding problems with their implants. A subsequent review of medical records revealed they had been fitted with an unregulated device built from components that are not designed to be used together. This raises interesting legal issues that will not only help develop product liability as an area of law, but also improve access to justice for consumers.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘The law enables you to effect change and help those who have been forced into unfortunate circumstances through no fault of their own.’
Career high: ‘Being one of the lead solicitors acting for the many women who had suffered from defective PIP breast implants.’