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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Millom woman's breast implant nightmare

A WOMAN has told how faulty breast implants damaged her health and cost her thousands of pounds.

Hairdresser Sandra Shaw, 35, is one of thousands of women across the UK who has suffered at the hands of implants manufactured by the now-closed Poly Implant Prothese (PIP).

Miss Shaw underwent a breast enlargement, from a 32A to 32D, through the Harley Medical Group, in Manchester, in 2005, funding the £5,000 operation with a bank loan.

But in 2007 the Millom woman began to suffer problems with her breasts, which she believes were down to her implants rupturing.

The Harley Medical Group refused to give her medical assistance and referred her to her GP.

She had to undergo two NHS operations to have lymph nodes and a lump removed.

In March 2010 she was horrified when the implants were recalled because they used a cheap type of silicone gel intended for making mattresses.

As her painful problems persisted, frequently preventing her from working, she footed another £5,000 bill to have them removed and replaced at Transform clinic, in Carlisle, eight weeks ago.

Miss Shaw, who runs Liquid Hair Studio, in Millom, said: “I had all of the signs and symptoms of rupturing. When I found out they had been recalled, I was horrified.

“The clinic didn’t even write to me to tell me. This is the human body we’re talking about. It’s disgusting.

“I had just got the first loan paid off and then I was hit with this massive bombshell having to get them out again.”

The government has called on private clinics to foot the bill for removal and replacement, but Harley Medical Group, which fitted PIP breast implants to almost 14,000 British women has refused.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has agreed for the NHS to fund removal for some women, but they have to go through an assessment process based on clinical need.

Miss Shaw, who has two daughters Natasha, 18 and Joanne, four, said: “I couldn’t wait any longer, I had to get them out. I was getting lumps, I didn’t want to have to have another operation and I didn’t want to be walking around with mattress filler in my body.

“When I had the PIP ones removed, I asked for the implants to see, but the clinic wouldn’t give me them, they said there was too much red tape involved.

“The clinics should be removing them free-of-charge. They knew they were using cheap implants which hadn’t been safety-tested.”

Miss Shaw plans to sue Harley Medical Group for failure in duty of care.

She hoped her story would spur more women suffering similar problems to come forward.

A spokeswoman for the Harley Medical Group said: “The advice from the Department of Health continues to be that there is not sufficient evidence to recommend routine implant removal and women who are concerned should speak to their GP.”

It had not been established whether the PIP implants ruptured more regularly than other implants, she said.

Nor was there any evidence they caused cancer, she added.

Harley Medical Group’s clinics were registered with the Care Quality Commission and “adhere strictly” with guidelines from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), she said.

An NHS Cumbria spokeswoman said anyone with PIP implants would be offered information and advice.

Women may want to consider contacting the surgery that carried out the implant operation for information on what to do, she said.

If the clinic no longer existed they could contact the NHS.

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