Doctor negligence is the main cause for the increase of Implanon compensation claims according to the manufacturer of the contraceptive device – Merck, Sharp & Dohme (MSD). Their comment was following a Channel 4 News investigation into why 584 women using the contraceptive device had fallen pregnant since the implant was introduced into the UK in 1999.
The news report showed that 1,607 complaints about the implant have been received by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulation Authority (MHRA) from women who have sustained an Implanon injury, and NHS Trusts have paid almost 200,000 pounds in medical negligence compensation to seven of the victims; with a further seven Implanon compensation claims currently waiting to be resolved.
The Implanon contraceptive device is made to stop women becoming pregnant for three years by releasing hormones into the bloodstream from a 40mm tube implanted into the their arm. However, if the implant is inserted incorrectly, or inserted at the wrong time of the month, the result can be an unintended pregnancy and the psychological trauma of whether to terminate the pregnancy or accept a major lifestyle change.
Not all the Implanon compensation claims have been made because of unintended pregnancies. Other Implanon injuries have been recorded; including scarring injuries when the implant has been incorrectly inserted and injuries sustained when it has proved difficult to remove an expired Implanon device. Furthermore, it is not only the manufacturers who think that doctor negligence is attributable to the Implanon injuries and unintended pregnancies.
Talking in an interview after the Channel 4 News investigation had been broadcast, Dr. Clare Gerada – chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners – said “Clearly there have been some problems. But every GP who intends to fit an implant must be competent and confident and be able to show that they have received the necessary training.” Her worry was for those women not captured in the Channel 4 News investigation that have given birth or terminated their unintended pregnancies.
As much as they are equally entitled to make Implanon compensation claims as the women who have already brought complaints against their doctors, they may be suffering alone without help or support. One woman spoken to for the news report described how her marriage collapsed and she suffered with nightmares for months after having a termination. Without making Implanon compensation claims, it is not likely that these women will have the resources to seek the professional counselling they need.