Roscommon woman asks for court judgement in PIP implants case

A Co Roscommon woman, who had defective silicone gel prostheses implanted in her breasts, is to ask a court for judgment against the Dublin-based Harley Medical Group (Ireland) Limited.

Samantha Gibbs, of Hillside, Ballintubber, Castlerea, is one of hundreds of women who have sued the Harley Group, 5 Herbert Place, Dublin 2, and two other Irish cosmetic clinics, for breach of contract in the surgical insertion of Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) manufactured implants.

Ms Gibbs, in her €38,000 damages claim, stated that in 2007 as a result of widespread media publicity she had learned that her implants could rupture and leak industrial grade silicone into her body.

Barrister Sarah Reid, counsel for Ms Gibbs, told County Registrar Verona Lambe today that the Harley Medical Group (Ireland) Limited had failed to respond in any form or fashion to her client’s claim.

Ms Reid said she was now seeking judgment against the company in default of appearance to be followed by an assessment of damages. County Registrar Lambe directed the motion be transferred to the Circuit Civil Court list.

The Harley Medical Group clinic has been carrying out cosmetic surgery, including breast enlargement, since 1983 and was one of three Irish clinics, the others being the Clane Hospital, Co Kildare, and Shandon Street Hospital, Cork, to have used PIP implants.

More than six years ago it was revealed that the PIP implants, manufactured by French company Poly Implant Prothese, could leak industrial grade silicone into the body and there were fears the substance could be toxic and cause cancer.

Last year, after the collapse of efforts to have treatment provided by the cosmetic surgery clinics that fitted them, the Department of Health announced it would assume responsibility for the cost of removing PIP implants from Irish women if it was deemed clinically necessary.

The Department said that appropriate care on the scale required had not been forthcoming from the three clinics involved and as a result the State would fund an alternative treatment service under the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

It is believed that up to 1,500 Irish woman had PIP implants fitted.

A separate entity, the Harley Medical Group in the UK, has already gone into liquidation there.

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