£207 implant fight payout is an 'insult'

A SHEFFIELD campaigner has been awarded just £207 in compensation - after an 11-year legal fight for recognition of her ruined health.

Shirley Hartley, aged 56, took legal action after she had silicone breast implants on the NHS which she says caused a severe reaction to her immune system.

Shirley, from Darnall, suffered burning sensations, pain, tingling and chronic fatigue and signed up to legal action against American implant manufacture Dow Corning back in 1998.

She was among thousands of women from the USA and Europe who took action against the company claiming their health had been damaged after their silicone breast implants leaked or caused immune system reactions.

Now more than a decade of waiting the cases have finally been settled.

"It is an insult, they might as well have given us nothing at all," said Shirley.

"Before this happened I could go for a walk, I had a job, and now I can't do any of those things. But I still want to help other women." She is continuing to lobby the NHS against its use of silicone implants - which she believes ruined her health.

"I do not believe silicone implants should have been allowed on the NHS," said Shirley, who was told 12 years ago by an independent doctor she was suffering a reaction to the chemicals in the implants.

She had implants after treatment to remove non-cancerous breast tumours.

Women were originally expected to received thousands of pounds in compensation when the action was first launched.

But Dow Corning, which did not admit liability in the legal case, went into bankruptcy and the amount of compensation available fell.

The NHS uses silicone and saline breast implants for women who need breast reconstruction for medical reasons.

Last year an independent review of silicone implants for the Government's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency found no conclusive evidence for an abnormal immune response to silicone from breast implants in tissue.

But it found that 'low grade' chronic infections may account for some of the non-specific illnesses in some women with silicone gel breast implants.

The review suggested women considering breast surgery needed better quality information on whether to go ahead with the treatment which is mostly provided by private clinics.

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