Silicone implants deadline looms

LAWYERS have less than two weeks to register clients for the US silicone breast implant settlement, according to personal injury specialists.

Lawyer Paul Balen told delegates at a conference of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers that there had been “a fundamental misunderstanding” of the settlement and it was now down to lawyers to ensure patients did not miss the 1 December deadline.

Surgeons had been told that it was not necessary to contact patients unless they had suffered due to breast implants, Balen said.

But registration was available for all men and women, regardless of whether they had yet suffered as a result of surgery, he stressed.

Balen, of Freeth Cartwright Hunt Dickins, added that the Department of Health had done little to publicise the settlement or to contact and warn former breast implant patients.

UK women and men,who had implants prior to 1 June 1993, must sign up by the end of the month if they wish to join the $4.5 billion settlement which will cover them for the next 30 years.

Scott Kale, a US medical specialist, warned the conference of the dangers of silicone gel and advised consumers against it.