PIP claims have not been straightforward
In December 2011 French medical authorities advised all women in France who received breast implants supplied by the Poly Implant Prothese Company to have them removed. Although initially, the British medical authorities advised the estimated 47,000 British women who have PIP implants women not too worry, they later also advised that they should be removed. It is now a year later and the outrage continues with women fighting to get the potentially dangerous implants removed and replaced. To mark the anniversary the PIP Action Campaign people were asked to Wear Something Yellow on December 7 to support the women affected by the PIP scandal.
Many of the women who had been given these implants are taking legal action to claim compensation for the illness they have suffered as a result of ruptured implants and the emotional distress of having a time bomb strapped to them. The PIP implants contain cheap industrial grade silicone normally used in mattresses rather than the more expensive medically tested and approved silicone. It is therefore thought that if the implant ruptures, which they are twice as likely too as other brands are, that the silicone entering the body could result in serious physical reactions and health concerns.
In June 2012 Professor Keogh, the NHS medical director, published a report confirming that the silicone is not a cause of cancer, however, this report has been met with criticism from the women affected. He is now undertaking a review of the cosmetic surgery industry to consider whether it is adequately regulated and to try and ensure problems of this scale can be avoided in the future. The results are expected in March.
Harris Fowler is currently acting on behalf of 170 of the victims who are pursing claims. Unfortunately, what might normally be a fairly straight forward claim against the manufacturer for a defective product has been complicated as the manufacturer has gone bust and their insurers are currently refusing to deal with any claims. The women have therefore had to look elsewhere and upon investigation it appears that the victims may have a claim against their surgeon and/or the clinic where they got the implants. Quite simply, it appears many of the women were conned by their surgeon or clinic. They were told they were buying an expensive, trusted and quality product but in actual fact they were unknowingly getting a cheap and potentially dangerous product put into their bodies. To add insult to injury many of these clinics are now charging the women to have their PIP implants replaced.
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Mary Blyth, associate and head of the PIP team at Harris Fowler said: "This nauseating medical exploitation must end." There are still many victims who have not come forward and it is important that they do so urgently. If the women do not have a direct action against their surgeon, it is highly likely that their claim will be part of the group litigation against the clinics involved and there is a deadline of April 8 2013 to join the group litigation order otherwise they may lose the opportunity to claim. There are also concerns that many of the clinics are now going into liquidation or administration and therefore trying to avoid paying the victims.
Mary Blyth, associate at Harris Fowler and head of the PIP Team can offer confidential and professional advice if you or a family member have been affected by this crisis. Call free on 0800 213 214 or visit www.harrisfowler.co.uk. Harris Fowler is a trading name of Harris Fowler Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority no. 558271.