PIP implants

PIP implant compensation claims: Poly Implant Prothese complaints

 
Background

If you have undergone breast augmentation surgery during the last 10 years in the UK or abroad, you should be aware of the made by French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP). It is thought that up to 50,000 women in the UK might have been fitted with PIP implants. 

The legal industry warned the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the government many years ago regarding their concerns about the safety of some prosthetic products. These warnings went largely unheeded and this may now lead to a raft of litigation against the MHRA and the government.

Advice for women who may be affected

The full facts at this stage are not known but it is thought that there is a risk that the implants might be unsafe and are prone to rupture. Furthermore it has been alleged that the silicone or other chemicals used in the manufacturing process were possibly not clinically approved and may well have been suitable for industrial use only. There has been much coverage in the news surrounding Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) implants but the recent government review has been less than certain in its advice to the public.

The statement from the government released on 6th January 2012 said:

"The wellbeing of women who have had PIP breast implants is our main priority. That is why the Health Secretary asked an expert group – led by the NHS Medical Director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh – to review all available evidence and data on PIP breast implants.

The group has concluded that the advice given by the MHRA still stands and that there is not enough evidence to recommend routine explantation of these breast implants. The group also agrees there is no link with cancer

Private providers have legal obligations to their patients. The NHS will offer a package of care for its patients, and we expect the private sector to do the same.

The NHS offer is:
  • All women who have received an implant from the NHS will be contacted to inform them that they have a PIP implant and to provide relevant information and advice.
  • If in the meantime NHS patients seek information about the make of their implant then this will be provided free of charge.
  • Women who wish to will able to seek a consultation with their GP, or with the surgical team who carried out the original implant, to seek clinical advice on the best way forward.
  • If the woman chooses, this could include an examination by imaging to see if there is any evidence that the implant has ruptured.
  • The NHS will support removal of PIP implants if, informed by an assessment of clinical need, risk or the impact of unresolved concerns, a woman with her doctor decides that it is right to do so.
  • The NHS will replace the implants if the original operation was done by the NHS

We are working with the private sector to best ensure an equivalent model of care is provided – we do not think it is fair to the taxpayer for the NHS to foot the bill."

If you believe that you have undergone breast enhancement surgery where PIP implants have been used, then the following course of action at this stage is advisable:
  • Visit your GP and seek their advice on the unfolding situation. NHS consultant referral might be the best course of action
  • Speak to your cosmetic surgeon and ask for an examination or possible ultra sound assessment.
  • Seek reassurance on the viability of the implants and their current condition

Useful PIP related links:
The UK Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (UKAAPS) has created a register for women who have had breast augmentation surgery to log their implants and surgeon on its sister site, the Breast Implant Association. We recommend that you visit these sites to log your details and to gain more of an understanding of the issues relating to PIP implants

Can you claim compensation..?

Most clinical negligence law firms are monitoring the situation very closely. At the present time there is a possibility of claims being made against the French company at the heart of the scandal and private cosmetic organisations in the UK. Product liability and clinical negligence are two areas of law that may well on this rare occasion both apply to the same cause of action. However the legal grounds are unclear at the present time because it is difficult to draw a conclusion about who can be held responsible. French and UK (including Scottish) law may well both play a part in any future legal action.

What should you do now..?

First and foremost seek medical advice and understand fully what the risks are associated with PIP implants. The rupture rates are low but the advice has been misleading so please get yourself checked out.

Please register your details with us for possible legal action against the authorities or organisations responsible. Complete our clinical negligence") involving private physicaians and clinics and also NHS services. If you think that you have suffered medical malpractice then you may be able to claim compensation.