By Wendy Williams
A BRITISH expat has launched a support group to help victims of faulty hip replacements in Spain.
Therapist Carol Duquemin, 59, decided to act after being forced to have her hip replacement removed after just four months.
Duquemin – whose ordeal came after the manufacturer recalled the faulty product in 2010 – has teamed up with free healthcare service Medilink to provide advice and support to expats.
“Up to 9,000 people in Spain could have been affected by the implants,” Duquemin told the Olive Press.
“People are still not aware of the problem and the danger it poses to their health.
“The law says you have to have it removed in the country where you had the operation but some hospitals here are not giving the help and information that they should and it is a big operation that causes a huge trauma to the body.
“I was a guinea pig so I know the pitfalls, now I just want to do something to help others.”
It comes after De-Puy, part of the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, admitted negligence in 2010 and was forced to recall the product.
It was found to contain metal-on-metal parts which rubbed together, releasing metal particles of cobalt and chromium into the blood, tissue and bone surrounding the implant.
“Anyone who has a hip replacement knows there are risks involved but this went above and beyond,” explained Marbella-based Duquemin.
“There are serious health implications as it can produce tumours, eyesight and hearing loss, and it can even be as serious as losing your leg.”
Yet despite Johnson & Johnson stating it will cover all medical costs, some hospitals are not giving this support to their patients and are making it difficult to get a claim form without signing a disclaimer or are insisting all hospital expenses will not be met.
“This is totally unacceptable,” added Duquemin.
“All costs are to be paid and people should not be put off from making a compensation claim thinking that it will take years.
“There is a definite conflict of interest with hospitals that use Johnson & Johnson products protecting the suppliers.
“But people can come to us and we will guide them down the medical route and also as they go on to make a compensation claim.
“I know first hand it is a minefield and I don’t want to see other people having to face this very distressing time alone.”
Anyone concerned about their hip replacement can contact Carol Duquemin on 952 830 493 or Medilink on 952 933 876.