A WARRINGTON woman is raising awareness of medical claims brought about by faulty devices after she was left with debilitating symptoms.

In 2008, Jan Faulkner was fitted with a sterilisation device, but she began developing debilitating symptoms including bladder incontinence.

So she eventually had it removed.

The 51-year-old said: “First, I started getting a lot of pain in my hips and back, and I became tired really 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.

“I felt like a different woman. I got my old life back and it felt like such a relief.”

Now Jan is part of thousands of women who are joining forces to campaign to ‘raise the limit’ on legal claims against pharmaceutical companies.

Millions of patients around the world are fitted with medical product devices every day, but in the UK and Europe, they only have ten years to make a claim against the manufacturer if something goes wrong.

For many women fitted with sterilisation device Essure, global law firm Pogust Goodhead say that is simply not long enough as it can take years for symptoms related to the device to show – and even longer to be attributed to the device and then removed.

Pogust Goodhead say they have turned down more than 1,000 women in their claim against Essure manufacturer Bayer, because they are ‘out of time’.

Earlier this year the court gave the go ahead for the case to proceed through the high courts – but the case will not give closure or justice to any of the women who have been prevented from making a claim.

Under the current UK Consumer Protection Act (CPA) 1987, no action can be brought against a manufacturer if a device is defective ‘after the expiration of the period of ten years’.

Jan was affected by the rule and is now campaigning to raise the limit from 10 to 20 years.

She first became aware of the legal case in the UK against manufacturer Bayer after reading online about women who had been fitted with the same device and had the same symptoms.

Jan set up a Facebook group and began to attract more and more women who were in the same boat.

She also looked into legal action but after meeting with lawyers from Pogust Goodhead, she was told she was ‘out of time’ to pursue a claim.

“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 manufacture to hold its company to account.

“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.

“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.

“We need to see this law changed. I’m calling to raise the limit because I couldn’t take Bayer to court."

“I am determined to have the law changed so that women like me don’t face the same problems again.”

Jan and thousands of women have been sharing their stories online using #raisethelimit in an attempt to make their case known and gather support.

They have also written to their local MPs and a number of key medical trade bodies.

Lisa Lunt, partner at Pogust Goodhead and head of medical product liability, said: "The Consumer Protection Act needs to be changed to remove the current 10 year longstop limitation which protects industry, not the trusting patient.

"Sadly, some pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies are selling medical products without proper testing, leaving women and men vulnerable.

"If they can't take those companies to court, because the product was manufactured more than 10 years ago, they have no access to justice.

"It's an absolute scandal and that's why I support Jan's campaign to extend the statute of limitations to 20 years.

"It can take years for the patient and their doctor to realise that the medical device or product is responsible for their problems, years to gather medical evidence and potentially the same to be on a waiting list to have it removed.

"By that time, it can be too late to claim."