Some people call me Britain’s Erin Brockovich, but I was never a campaigner. I just want to make sure other women don’t go through the same pain I went through and that is why I’m launching a campaign called ‘Raise the Limit’.
I don’t think enough people know the huge impact that even a small medical device can have on their bodies. I have never felt any pain like it. It turned my life into hell.
A couple of years after I had my fifth child, in 2008, I went to my GP to ask if I could get sterilised. The doctor had other ideas and he told me about Essure.
Essure permanent sterilisation device
Essure was marketed as a permanent sterilisation device, by the pharmaceutical company Bayer. It was supposed to work differently from the traditional coil.
The marketing said you didn’t need any incisions for it, and you would have a rapid recovery.
That’s what my doctor told me too – he said how fantastic it was, how loads of women have had it, how they’re all really happy with it. You just take your doctor’s advice, don’t you? We’re told they are always right.
Instead, it led me down a cycle of hell.
Essure side effects and symptoms
I started getting a lot of pain in my hips and back, and I became tired quickly. The fatigue was awful, especially when you have five kids to look after. I couldn’t drive my car, do the school run or even tie their shoelaces! My blood pressure was constantly raging too. It took over my life. I just couldn’t function.
The doctors just dismissed my pain, as they do with a lot of women in general. But I knew something was causing it – I just didn’t have the proof. It wasn’t until 2016, when I couldn’t go on any longer, when a sports therapist said I might have fibromyalgia. I googled it and saw some posts on Facebook by women in an Essure group. That’s when it clicked. I went back to my GP and demanded they take it out, and six weeks later I felt like a different woman. I got my old life back and it felt like such a relief.
The medical limitation period
People don’t realise that, in Britain, if you use a faulty medical product or device, you only have ten years from the date of it is manufactured to hold its company to account. That means if it had been sitting on the shelves for five years, you only have five years to take the company to court if it had been faulty.
It matters because it can take years for a woman to find out why her body is reacting badly to something. It could take another decade just to gather the medical evidence and get doctors to properly test. By that time, you have lost your opportunity to take your case to court and get compensation for the damage it has done, not only to your body but to your life.
Unfortunately, I was out of time to make a claim against Bayer, but now I work for Pogust Goodhead as a Client Liaison Officer, helping women that are able to take their claim forwards. I spend so much time talking to our clients about their experiences – all of which are so similar to mine – that I just won’t rest until they get justice.
I know one thing – I am grateful that I could connect with other women to learn about their symptoms and share our stories. We bonded together over our ordeal. None of us could have taken on a billion-dollar pharmaceutical company by ourselves either – in that sense group litigation has been a godsend.
Raise the Limit campaign
We need to see this law changed. I’m calling to raise the limit because I couldn’t take Bayer to court, or even join Pogust Goodhead’s group litigation case because I was out of time.
There are thousands of women like me who have been denied justice because it has been more than a decade since their Essure device was manufactured. We are denied justice. That is unfair to us, and possibly hundreds of thousands of British women and men with other devices in similar situations.
How can it be right to say you only have 10 years to know a product is not working properly, gather the medical evidence and join a court case? It can take decades to get the medical evidence by itself!
I am determined to have the law changed so that women like me don’t face the same problems again.
I am calling to #RaiseTheLimit.
Please join me in spreading the word by sharing your support online and use the hashtag #RaiseTheLimit or if you have been affected by the time limit, you can reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org