A Co Roscommon woman, who had defective silicone gel prostheses implanted in her breasts, has been given leave to apply for judgment against Dublin-based Harley Medical Group (Ireland) Limited which is in liquidation.
Samantha Gibbs, of Hillside, Ballintubber, Castlerea, is one of hundreds of women who have sued the Harley Group, Herbert Place, Dublin, and two other Irish cosmetic clinics, for breach of contract in the surgical insertion of Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) implants.
The Circuit Civil Court has already heard that 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.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane was told yesterday that, due to liquidation of the company, Ms Gibbs needed to re-enter proceedings seeking judgment in default of appearance.
The Harley Medical Group clinic had 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 implants, manufactured by French company Poly Implant Prothèse, 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 them 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.
Irish women affected
It is believed up to 1,500 Irish women had PIP implants fitted. A separate entity, the Harley Medical Group in the UK, has already gone into liquidation there.
Judge Linnane said Ms Gibbs’ new application, on notification of the court appointed liquidator, would proceed on October 29th.