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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Breast implant mum, 37, tells of her ordeal

A WOMAN has spoken of her ordeal after finding out she’d been fitted with substandard breast implants which had leaked silicone into her body.

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ordeal: Liz and Robert McDowell

Liz McDowell, 37, was devastated to discover she was living with PIP (Poly Implant Prothese) implants, which are the subject of a global scandal after they were found to have been made using cheap industrial grade silicone designed for use in mattresses.

The news then worsened for the mum-of-two, from Cleator Moor, when she found a lump – a sign that one may have ruptured.

On top of this, her original clinic – Transform – refused to replace them free of charge.

Frantic Liz had been experiencing unexplained bad health for two years previously and has now been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a painful and debilitating condition she believes could be linked.

She made an urgent appointment with her GP, who sent her for a scan at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary.

It confirmed that her right implant had burst and silicone was leaking into her body – and, worse still, had got into her lymph nodes.

Liz felt she needed implants after being left with problems following a car crash when she was a teenager. She could not get them on the NHS so saved up over £3,000 and had them fitted privately in 2004.

At the time she claims she was told they would never rupture, not even if she was in another car crash. She added that, to suddenly find she had not been given the high-quality implants she had paid for, was devastating.

Liz, who is married to Robert, said the whole experience has been awful: “I didn’t think I had PIPs but it was my husband who made me check. I rang Transform on January 7 but they couldn’t tell me there and then. I had to wait 11 days to get an answer. That was a really stressful time.

“As soon as I found out I hated them. They were like aliens. I just wanted them out. But I phoned Transform and they said I couldn’t get an appointment until February 6. The psychological affect of the waiting was just awful.”

When she did finally see the consultant Liz was told she would have to pay £2,500 to have her implants replaced, despite them being faulty.

“To me there wasn’t a choice. I needed them out and had to have them replaced. I’ve never wanted the NHS to have to pay for them, all I’ve wanted is for Transform to take responsibility.

“I wanted the faulty products I bought taken out and replaced. It’s just fortunate I had the funds to do it. I’ve spoken to people online who have had to re-mortgage their homes to fund it.”

Liz said she was a nervous wreck right up until the operation, at the company’s clinic in Manchester. She asked for her original implants back – one was intact but the other was clearly burst and had been sealed in a plastic bag.

Liz is much happier now they are out, but remains worried about the long term implications of the silicone leak.

Having come across other affected women who have also developed fibromyalgia she now is convinced it is linked.

Liz is now speaking out to help raise awareness of the issue and call on the cosmetic surgery companies and the Government – who she says must have approved the PIP implants for use in the UK – to help those women affected who don’t have funds to pay.

“It’s been awful, not just for me but also for Robert, all of the family.

“It’s just been a constant worry,” said Liz.

Liz thanked the rest of her family, particularly her aunty Joanne Rudd, for their support, and urged other affected women to join one of the support groups on Facebook.

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