MSPs to consider call to ban silicone breast implants
A PETITION calling for a ban on silicone breast implants is to be debated by MSPs on an influential parliamentary committee.
The petition, raised by a woman who claims to have suffered ill-health for 25 years after receiving silicone implants on the NHS, secured support from politicians on Holyrood's public petitions committee, and will now be heard by MSPs on the health and sport committee, who are expected to call on expert witnesses before deciding whether the issue should go before parliament.
Mairi Johnston, 55, from Inverness, is one of thousands of women who have reported symptoms similar to those caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) after undergoing treatment for breast enhancement or replacement. Johnston, whose petition was supported by Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant, wants MSPs to press for a change in the law after suffering from silicone poisoning since 1986.
Grant said: "I met Mairi before this petition came forward and was struck by the situation that she and others with a similar condition are in. There is no official recognition that any harm has been done to them and there no recognition of medical help available.
"It just struck me that firstly, we are going ahead and allowing people to receive treatments that could damage their health. This must have further investigation."
Johnston was 28 when she was given implants at Aberdeen's Forester Hill Hospital because she felt her breasts had not developed properly.
"I thought maybe I had a problem and I went ahead to the doctor and the next thing I was in hospital," she said.
"I was never taken through any of it and it was like getting a filling in your teeth. I never thought they would leak or burst. You put your trust completely into your surgeon."
Within months, her health had deteriorated significantly. She said: "I ran my own sewing business, and my arms were just going all weak, I couldn't hold up the material. Then I got scabs, mouth ulcers, arthritis, pains in my kidneys, headaches. I felt dizzy all the time and I've had a constant low-grade fever for 25 years. That was the silicone leaking."
Johnston, who gave up her business due to ill health and underwent a hysterectomy at 31, successfully lobbied the European Union for stricter regulations, including independent pre-surgery counselling on the long-term effect.
"This is what my petition is about. These girls getting implants don't know what they're getting themselves into. And they don't know that if anything goes wrong no-one will believe them," she said.
Johnston was among more than 110,000 women involved in a class-action lawsuit against silicone manufacturer Dow Corning, however she failed to receive compensation because of a lack of hospital records from the initial operation.
Since then she has been through 14 operations, including one to remove a second set of replacement implants in 1996, and has also had some of her lymph system removed.
Despite reports of similar symptoms from thousands of patients who have undergone breast augmentation, experts remain divided over the safety of silicone implants.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West