It is believed that up to 1,500 Irish women who received defective breast implants may face alarming health risks. The defective implants were produced by French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP). Over 300,000 women worldwide received the PIP implants before the company ceased business in 2010.
The PIP breast implants were recalled in Ireland in March 2010. Legally time may be limited for the women who received the defective breast implants. In these situations there is a two year time limit within which those affected may seek compensation for the defective product and/or procedure. Since the PIP implants were recalled in Ireland in March 2010 a case may need to be initiated in less than two months – before March 2012. The added complication here is that the company, PIP, is no longer trading and therefore legal action may have to be considered against the Irish suppliers or other companies in the supply and manufacture chain under the Product Liability Code. Another option is to consider taking a case under the Sale of Goods & Supply of Services code. The 1,500 Irish women who received the implants should contact their solicitors without delay.
The PIP implants have an unusually high rupture rate, which effectively means that gel from the implants could leak into a patient’s body. Following the liquidation of the company an investigation revealed that PIP was using silicone gel that was not approved by the health authorities. While there may be a possible cancer risk associated with the implants a definite link has not yet been established, however a death of a women in France in 2010 may be linked to the implant and is currently being investigated. 1,140 women in France have suffered from ruptures of their PIP implants, according to the French medical regulator AFFSAPS, and health officials estimate that over 30,000 defective PIP implants, in France alone, will need to be removed.
Service Providers of PIP implants
PIP implants were used in three private practices in Ireland – the Shandon Street Hospital, Cork, the Clane Hospital, Co. Kildare and Harley Medical Clinic, Dublin. Recently it has come to light that in November 2010 Harley Medical Group told the Irish Medicines Board on two occasions that it had contacted patients of the PIP breast implants when, in fact, it had not contacted the patients directly. The IMB had been misinformed and lead to believe that letters were sent to the patients when the only communication made to patients was through Harley’s website. Up to 878 Irish patients received the PIP implants from Harley Medical Group, Dublin, who are now refusing to rectify the faulty implants without an additional cost to patients.
A spokesperson for Clane Hospital confirmed that all of their 200 patients were contacted and offered scans following the Irish Medicines Board advice. If ruptures are revealed in the scans PIP patients can have their implants removed and replaced free of charge. To date, 20 women have had the corrective procedure at Clane Hospital.
All Irish hospitals that used the PIP implant were advised by the Irish Medicines Board to contact women who may have received the defective implant since 1st January 2001. From our experience with recall cases we highly recommend that women who received the defective PIP implants contact their surgeons immediately and, if necessary, seek an independent second opinion.