'My boob job killed my baby': Distraught mother blames PIP implants for poisoning her unborn child
12:35 GMT, 28 March 2012
Distraught: Suzanne Ellis, who is waiting to have her faulty PIP implants removed, believes the leaking silicone contributed to the death of her unborn baby
A grieving mother says she blames her faulty PIP breast implants for killing her baby.
Suzanne, 31, from Widnes, believes her ruptured implants – which contained industrial strength silicone usually used as mattress stuffing – poisoned her baby.
Consultants could find no explanation for the child's death and now Suzanne wants to warn other women that they too could face the same fate.
The pharmacy assistant said: 'I had been ill for years when I found out my implants had ruptured leaking industrial silicone through my body.
'The silicone was supposed to be used in mattresses not humans. If it can make me so ill, I’ve no doubt what it did to my tiny defenceless baby.
'I think the poison in my body that made me so sick killed my baby. Nobody can say for sure if there is a link between my implants rupturing and Ivan dying, but I do know for sure that before I had PIP implants I was always well, and after having them I was always ill.'
Suzanne, who also has a daughter aged 14, is now waiting to have her implants removed. She visits the grave of her son Ivan – who was still born at 27 weeks – every week.
'When I decided to have implants I thought I knew all the risks. I never thought losing my son would be one of them.
'Now I want to push for an investigation into this because I believe my son would be alive now if my implants had not ruptured. No mother should bury a child. The thought that my implants may have played a role in his death kills me.'
Suzanne was 26 when she went under the knife to have breast implants at a Manchester clinic in April 2007.
She’d gone from a 34A to a 34D and had been delighted with the results.
‘I thought I was being sensible by not going abroad. I paid a premium price for the operation at a good clinic in England. I’d done my research and had full trust in the surgeon.'
Suzanne put the 3,800 cost on her mortgage. ‘It was worth every penny. I felt feminine and attractive for the first time in my life.'
But six months after the operation her right breast started to swell.
‘It was hot and painful but the surgeon had warned me swelling was normal while they settled.'
At the same time Suzanne started to suffer from repeated chest, ear and throat infections.
Health issues: Suzanne was delighted with her implants initially – but began to suffer ill health soon after having them put in
Before having implants she’d never had a day off sick, but soon she was visiting the doctor's surgery every week.
'It just wasn’t like me at all. I felt awful for my boss but he was very understanding.
'My mum asked if could be anything to do with my implants but at the time I told her not to be daft. Now I wish I had listened much sooner.'
As the weeks passed she suffered chronic headaches and some days barely made it out of bed.
Then in January 2008 she fell pregnant.
'It was a surprise but we were delighted and couldn’t wait,’ says Suzanne.
But as the pregnancy progressed she was drained by constant sickness and illness.
'I’d been pregnant before so I knew what to expect. But this was horrific.
'I was constantly exhausted, vomiting and aching. I knew it wasn’t just morning sickness.'
At ten weeks gone she was admitted to hospital and put on drip. She spent the next two months going back and forth for treatment.
Side-effects: A year after she had her implants put in, Suzanne fell pregnant – but at 10 weeks began to suffer intense itching, constant vomiting and aches and pains that led to her being hospitalised
Then at 18 weeks Suzanne developed an intense itching across her entire body. ‘I begged the doctors to help me because I felt like there was something under my skin in my blood. It was awful.'
They tested her for food allergies but results came back inconclusive.
'They seemed baffled too. Nobody could give me any answers.'
At 20 weeks Suzanne and then partner Adam found out they were having a boy and picked the name Ivan. Thank fully despite all the complications, baby seemed to be developing well.
'I bought some blue clothes and got his nursery ready. We were so excited about his arrival, even though the pregnancy had been so bad.
Mystery: Suzanne, pictured when pregnant with the child she lost, says doctors were baffled by her illness
'I’d spent so much of it in hospital or in bed that I couldn’t wait to get full term.'
But then at 27 weeks Suzanne’s waters broke and she was rushed to hospital by ambulance.
She was given medication to try and stop labour. The following morning a scan showed it seemed to have worked and the amniotic fluids were replenishing itself.
‘I was so relieved. The scan showed him sucking his thumb and I felt assured that he looked comfortable and content.'
She was admitted to be monitored and scanned every morning to check baby was well.
But five days after being admitted a scan showed Ivan had suddenly died. ‘We were distraught. It didn’t make sense. He’d been fine and now he was gone.'
Hours later on 9 June 2008 Suzanne gave birth to Ivan. ‘ He looked perfect from his eyelashes to his toes. I needed answers but nobody could tell me why my perfect baby had died.
'I just held him and sobbed, asking “why”'
Not wanting to put him through any more she declined a post mortem and Ivan was buried a week later. Tests were carried out on the placenta that showed it was healthy.
'It was a mystery to the consultants and me. How could a seemingly perfect baby just die with nobody knowing why.'
‘After the funeral it got worse because nothing made sense. There was no explanation for how ill I had been and no reason for Ivan to have died. It was torture.
'I felt like my whole life was falling apart and I didn’t know why.'
Months later the stress of losing their baby caused Suzanne and partner Adam to split. Her health then continued to worsen and 12 months after Ivan had died she noticed discharge from her nipples.
'I was told it was nothing to worry about and eventually it stopped but none of my friends had ever had anything like it. I was getting scared.'
Then a year on she found a lump in her breast and feared cancer. 'I was doing my hair when I looked down and saw a lump the size of a two pence coin in my right breast I froze thinking it was a tumour.’
Her GP thought it was more likely to be a cyst but when she got a high fever and started vomiting he sent her to hospital where a scan revealed the horrifying truth.
'Basically I was told my implant in the right breast had ruptured and had been leaking silicone into my body for some time.
'The thought of all those chemicals coursing around my body for so long left me petrified. Suddenly everything clicked into place.
'He told me to go back to my surgeon and get the implants out as soon as I could.'
Devastating: The stress of losing baby Ivan led to the breakdown of Suzanne's marriage. Now she wants to fight for an investigation into the undiscovered potential risks of PIP implants
More bad news followed when she called her surgeon’s office to be told her implants had been made by PIP.
'It was just before the scandal broke and they said a few women had been having reactions but when I went on line I was horrified. My implants were faulty and made with industrial strength silicone used for mattress stuffing.
‘The thought of that leaking around my body while my tiny baby was growing inside me made me shake with anger.'
'No wonder I had been so ill. No wonder my poor baby had died.
'I demanded answers but nobody could tell me for sure if that’s what took Ivan’s life.
'I’m not a doctor but as far as I can see, a link cannot be ruled out. I was a well woman, I had a healthy pregnancy, then after my implants I got very sick and my baby died. It can’t be ignored.
'I believe the chemicals from my ruptured implants made me so unwell that my baby was not able to develop and grow properly.
'The manufacturers of PIP implants put my health at risk and in doing so, could have risked the life of my son. How many other women have suffered
'The French Government are examining the link between PIP implants and cancer – I think we need to look at the link between still birth too.
‘Nothing will bring my boy back, but if I can prevent one more woman going through this hell it will be worth it.'