PIP implants news and metal on metal hip replacement

The Good Life Letter

Friday 3rd February  2012

  • 30,000 Brits fear for their hips
  • PIP implants fear is a French faux pas  
  • A scene too close to home on Holby City

A few months ago I started to pick up some of the early information about the PIP implants which were putting the lives of women at risk.

Long before the red tops picked the story up there was a massive amount of activity within the EU about this potentially huge problem.

Just think about it, someone actually thought that it was a good idea to allow industrial grade chemicals to be put inside the body.

We all have opinions about the validity of using surgery to determine how our bodies look.

Iím no fan of the modern trend for pneumatically enhanced women who seem to link inches with attractiveness.

However, there are many women whose lives have been made a misery because of their physical appearance, and whose lives have been transformed by the confidence this type of procedure can provide.

Beyond that are the women who need reconstructive surgery following major surgery or after severe infections.

These women deserved to have the best and safest interventions that modern medicine can provide.

Not one of them expected to have the equivalent of sweepings from the factory floor used to rebuild their bodies.

This week I have read with increasing horror the news about the metal on metal hip replacements that are now putting lives at risk.

These replacement hips systems were made by a US company have been linked with failure of the joint, and more worryingly with fragments of metal entering the blood stream.

I thought Iíd have a look at the statistics surrounding these products and was shocked to see that even the manufacturer was reporting that over 10% of all hip replacements with their product had needed remedial/replacement surgery.

This has to be an unacceptable risk. 

Just in the case of the PIP implants and the DuPuy hip systems something has happened in the world of healthcare that we had only seen in the car world previously Ė a product recall!

Commercial medicine ONLY has one winner Ė and itís NEVER us!

The reason for my dilemma in writing this letter isnít that I donít feel outraged on behalf of all of those who have been affected.

Itís not even that I find it difficult to castigate the short-term profit oriented companies who have caused these problems Ė they deserve all that is coming to them.

The thing that scares me is the fact that we donít seem to learn from our mistakes in this respect.

Where our health is concerned I find myself beginning to wonder just whose interests are being served.

The more our healthcare service is forced to measure its results on the balance sheet the greater the possibility that we, the poor needy public, will carry the cost of commercial shortcuts.

In my youth the world woke to the horror of the Thalidomide debacle, where a poorly conceived drug aimed at stopping morning sickness in pregnant women actually caused permanent damage to their unborn children.

With their limbs shortened or absent these victims have faced a constant struggle to live a normal life, and I can only begin to wonder how their mothers must feel about the damage done by a drug being prescribed without the proper tests being concluded.

Arenít the same mistakes being made again and again across the world?

Why should we ever trust any new advance in science ever again?

Thatís why it has been so hard to write this piece today Ė I feel like Iím stating the obvious here.

I want to try to be a bit novel in my work, and love to be first on the map with any new discovery, especially if it involves a natural product.

The problem here is that I havenít seen any other commentator make this point Ė These problems all stem from medical practice blurring with commercial profits.

Why is this?

Whisper it around but maybe we will soon discover that there is more for the health chiefs to gain from supporting these products than advancing the care of their patients Ė I suspect they may be feathering their nests at our expense.

I never thought that I would begin to see the TV drama/soap ĎHolby Cityí as a documentary with a strong comment on life Ė but do you know what if any of you share my addiction for Bristolís finest drama youíll know the story line Iím on about.

A corrupt surgeon is using his influence to sell sub-standard breast implants into private & NHS patients, and then heads for the hills when women begin to come back with severe health problems as a result.

Life imitating TV... I wonder where the writers got that idea from.

Like I said long before the red top newspapers got hold of the story Ė it was already doing the rounds in medical literature!

Itís time our political and health decision makers began to look after our interests as a priority, especially when it comes to our health.

Yours, as always



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