San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Public hospital turns down breast implant patient

So much for sympathetic statements two weeks ago by Costa Rican public health authorities warning women about the faulty PIP breast implants ordered by the Social Security System, or Caja (TT, Jan. 13, Jan. 6, Dec. 30). 

The daily La Nación reported Wednesday that a 35-year-old Alajuela woman went to a public hospital with an ultrasound scan showing that one of her Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP) implants had ruptured and was leaking its contents into her body. She was told to go to a private hospital to have it replaced.

At Clínica Bíblica Hospital, she was told that they would do it gladly – for $3,500. She does not have the money, even though the price contains a healthy discount.

She was alerted to the problem during the holiday season last month by pains in her left breast. But she really did not become alarmed until the announcement about the faulty French-made PIP implants. A scan revealed the rupture and she consulted Hospital Mexico.

She was told in the Reconstructive Surgery Unit that “we don’t treat private patients,” according to La Nación. She consulted the Health Ministry and was counseled to insist, but was again turned down by the public hospital. The plastic surgeon of her original operation (echoing the professional association of plastic surgeons) said that doctors had been victimized by the poor quality of the PIP implant and are not obligated to replace them.

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