Breast implant issue needs resolution

Full and comprehensive regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry needed

Following a meeting with the women of the PIP Action Group Ireland at the weekend, Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said the fear being felt by women who have had cosmetic breast implant procedures carried out at private clinics over the future of their health, is completely understandable and has them living in fear.

“I met with the nine women of PIP Action Group Ireland at the weekend who outlined their concerns to me regarding Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) breast implants and the potential affects they may have on their future health. Their concerns centre on the fact that these implants are made using non-medical, industrial grade silicon and are heightened owing to findings by the EU Commission’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) that components such as tin, zinc, chromium, arsenic and lead cannot be ruled out of the chemical composition of PIP implants.

“These women are young with young families and are desperately seeking reassurance. They feel they are being given the run-around, with GPs directing them back to the private clinic where the procedure was carried out, and the clinics then claiming they cannot help unless a rupture has occurred. Some women are even being obstructed in their attempts to obtain their medical records and have not been given full confirmation as to whether or not PIP implants were, in fact, used during their procedure.

“The women at the centre of this controversy are not looking for the taxpayer to pick up the tab for the removal of their implants. They are simply looking for full and proper regulation of the industry, with due regard being given to the devices and product materials being used.

“These implants should never have been placed into human bodies but there is little point dwelling on that now that the potential for damage has been done. These women feel as though they are a science experiment, with the clinics involved being reactive to new evidence as it emerges, rather than having a proactive response to patient safety and care.

“While there are always risks associated with cosmetic surgery, no-one expects to have the equivalent of a ticking time-bomb inserted into them. I am calling on the clinics involved to look with compassion on these women and to come to some arrangement so that they can get on with their lives and regain peace of mind.

“I have submitted a Parliamentary Question to the Ministers for Health and Justice, looking for the cosmetic industry in Ireland to be regulated. I will be pursuing this issue in the hope of formulating legislation to ensure full and comprehensive regulation of the industry.”

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