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The following is a statement from Hilary Dingwall-Fordyce regarding the hip resurfacing she underwent in May 2007

In May of 2007 at the age of 55, I underwent a hip resurfacing procedure in the right hip with fitment of a Smith and Nephew BHR metal prosthesis at Claremont Surgical in Cape Town, South Africa.  I had extensive and expensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy however I  never fully recovered and have suffered endless problems as follow:

• In 2008, my leg became swollen and the doctor fearing a thrombosis injected me with blood thinning medication.  I had a CAT scan which showed a bursar in the hip area which was collapsing the main vein – I then had a procedure to remove the liquid from the bursar but one week later the swelling returned.  I was advised to see a vascular surgeon who admitted me to hospital and inserted 2 stents, the first one collapsing under pressure from the bursar.

• In 2009 my leg again became swollen another scan showed the bursar had become tumerous and was pushing the vascular bundle against my pelvic bone and the stent had collapsed.  I was admitted to hospital where both orthopaedic and vascular surgeons operated – the stent being repaired and the tumerous mass being removed and the area around the prosthesis cleaned of debris.  The tissue was found to contain metal debris and I was found to be suffering from metallosis and an infection around the prosthesis.  I was put on a course of strong antibiotics to which I had a severe allergic reaction.  I was told no further operation on my hip was possible until this infection was cleared.  Since I can no longer afford the operation anyway I have not returned.

• From 2008, I was suffering from acute anxiety and depression which required hospitalisation and medication for several years.

• My one leg now being shorter than the other I have had stability and balance problems – unable to walk any distance because of pain and discomfort.  I believe this instability also contributed to a fall in 2010 and a second fall in 2011 – this time breaking my ankle.

• Lately I have noticed a marked deterioration in my sight as well as short term memory lapses and confusion with time lines.

I had no idea that all my problems mentioned above must clearly stem from the BHR metal prosthesis in my body, until reading an article in a magazine.

I would like to point out that besides the pain, discomfort and constant worry about what would happen next to my hip and the constant reminder because of the “clunk-clunk” when I move in certain ways, the time and the expense has taken its toll and today I have been unable to find a job and have neither pension nor savings nor medical aid as I am effectively destitute all being used to pay for the endless medical bills since my hip replacement.  I am now relying on my son for a living and am currently homeless, moving between various friends.

I approached a firm in South Africa who are involved in a class action against Du Puy.  They agreed to add me to the action as I did not realise there were a number of manufacturers of these prostheses – however on investigation they discovered I was not fitted with a Dupuy prosthesis but a Smith and Nephew “Birmingham” prosthesis. I subsequently went on line to find out what was being done to assist people who are suffering from the failure and after effects of this prosthesis in a case against this manufacturer as is being conducted against Du Puy and Johnson and Johnson.  I don’t see any cases being handled in South Africa and would like to ask your advice as to my next steps.