A friend I hadn’t seen for a while asked me today if I had pursued legal action given that the breast implants that had made me so ill had been recalled, but I had not been notified. I had them 22 years. They were recalled within a year of getting them. They were unknowingly ruptured for 16 years. The implants had been recalled because they had a near 100% rupture rate at the 5-6 year mark.
I wasn’t able to pursue legal action. I was told at every turn I had no legal recourse.
However, I discovered after being explanted in October 2013 that though I couldn’t pursue a personal injury lawsuit, I technically qualified for some of the settlement money awarded Canadian Dow ladies in the multi-billion dollar Dow Corning class-action lawsuit (1984-1998). The settlement for Canadian claimants was approximately $24.2 million dollars.
Deloitte, the company responsible for distributing the money confirmed my eligibility, but said I was S.O.L. because they’d already doled the money out, leaving nothing for women like myself that contacted them within the final legal deadline. There was nothing put aside for us.
For most Canadian Dow women their share of the settlement, if they received anything at all, was a pittance that didn’t even fully cover explant costs. I presume lawyers and Deloitte received substantially more than a pittance; and surely would NOT have accepted being told there was nothing left for them.
I try to remain positive as I live with difficult health issues and acute pain related to having had badly ruptured silicone breast implants but, on some days like today, anger surfaces. It’s unbelievable to me that something like this could happen but, nobody really cares. FDA / Health Canada / medical system … none of them.
I’m not writing this to whine.
Conservatively there are many tens of thousands of women / men who have become casualties to faulty and dangerous implantable medical devices. (I don’t believe breast implants should be categorized as a medical device as they serve no medical purpose.) Most of us are swept under the carpet or cast aside, counted within the ‘acceptable risks’ statistics.
My husband was also unwittingly a victim of a failed, recalled implantable device which totally disintegrated within his hip socket. After years of suffering and pain he received a replacement prosthesis and was enrolled in a clinical study, but follow-up was nothing short of inadequate.
Until you become one of the ‘acceptable risks’ casualties with no recourse it’s easy to believe it’s somehow ok for manufacturers, the FDA, et al, to consider a certain number of injuries or deaths is acceptable. You never expect it might happen to you. You don’t consider that they will squash you like a bug and deny you justice if something goes wrong.
One might read my story and think, ‘that happened long ago and isn’t relevant now’. But, my story – change name and details – is the story of countless others today. We should ALL be concerned that something like this could happen in Canada.
May you never know the injustice of being harmed by an implantable device with the FDA / Health Canada stamp of approval. May you never have NO RECOURSE.