Breast Implants—Government urges women to seek legal advice

Uncertainty and confusion still surrounds the developing PIP Implant Scandal. This briefing provides an update on the issues.

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Russell-Cooke Team
3 min Read

The problem with breast implants grows ever more serious

The rupture rate of PIP implants is as high as one in three according to a new survey. More than 52,000 women are estimated to be affected in the UK.

France, Germany, the Czech Republic and Belgium are all now advising removal.

The Department of Health has now urged those affected to seek legal advice.

The Blame Game

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has called on clinics to offer free surgery because of a “moral duty” – Nuffield Health; BMI Hospitals; MYA Cosmetic Surgery and Spire have indicated that they will comply. Others including the large provider Transform have refused and said that doing so would force them into bankruptcy. The NHS may be considering offering removal but not replacement where clinics fail to do so.

Two surgeons have come forward to say that they warned against the use of PIP implants several years ago. One said that they were cheap and substandard but he was “ordered” to use them and another said he refused to use them after 2007 because of an unacceptable rupture risk.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh (NHS Medical Director) was reported as saying that the failure of clinics to keep rupture data was frankly unbelievable. Eighty seven providers had failed to provide information.

Poly Implant Protheses (PIP) has previously blamed surgeons for ruptures by reason for example of the inappropriate use of forceps. The former head of research at PIP the now bankrupt French manufacturer says he knew they dangerous but his warnings were ignored. PIP’s founder faces fraud and manslaughter charges in France after a death linked to the implants.

Some private healthcare providers are blaming the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHPA) for failing to ban the PIP product and are saying the Government should pick up the bill. The owner of the Birkdale clinic is quoted as saying: “If you need a gastric band you don’t go to Burger King. I have no legal responsibility. I’m more than fulfilling my moral responsibility”.

The damage caused by implants

One patient is reported to have paid £4,000 for a replacement. One provider is said to be providing replacements for its implants at cost said to be £2,800. More reports of pain and illness as a result of ruptures are coming forward. There are no reports to date of compensation being freely offered to individuals for having to go through additional unwanted surgical procedures or for anxiety.

Legal advice

Janice Gardner, Partner in the Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence team, commented:

“Women should seek advice even if offered free removal or replacement if the terms of the offer involve a waiver of their claims generally. Much more information can be expected to emerge in the coming days and weeks. I have been particularly concerned at suggestions that surgeons may have allowed their clinical judgements to be overridden by commercial managers. The liability of clinics for the use of defective medical products may not be avoided by claims that they were not negligent and were entitled to rely on the regulator”.

PIP breast implants: conclusion

As the Media frenzy continues we are concerned that many thousands of women in the UK who have had breast implants may be worried, anxious and unsure as to which way to turn.

If you have had Breast Implants, we suggest that you contact your treating Doctor or Clinic to ascertain if your Breast Implants were manufactured by PIP. If they were, please contact us and we will be pleased to advise you of your legal rights in regards to the removal and replacement of your implants and discuss with you any possible claim you may have for compensation as a consequence.

We offer “No Win, No Fee Agreements” in suitable cases and also offer a free first meeting or telephone consultation. Don’t suffer in silence; contact one of our specialist solicitors.

Get in touch

If you would like to speak with a member of the team you can contact our personal injury law solicitors by email, by telephone on +44 (0)20 3826 7517 or complete our enquiry form below.

Briefings Personal injury and medical negligence Breast implants issues PIP Breast Implants clinical negligence medical negligence