Testimony of Ed Brent

Testimony of Ed Brent during the Public Comment of the FDA Advisory Panel for Silicone Gel Breast Implants in April 2005.

My name is Ed Brent. I am representing my wife, P. J. Brent, and our children.

My wife had silicone breast implants for ten years. She had no problems at first but became increasingly ill. On May 29th, 2000, my wife committed suicide. She left behind seven children. On behalf of my wife and my seven children, I urge this panel and the FDA not to approve silicone breast implants unless there is clear evidence that the implants being sold now are safe for long-term use, meaning ten years or more.

Several studies have shown higher rates of suicide among breast implant patients. And a National Cancer Institute study found that women with implants were four times as likely to kill themselves as other plastic surgery patients.

The implant makers think the explanation is that women with breast implants had lower self-esteem before they got their implants, but there is no reason to think that women who decide to get implants have lower self-esteem than women who decide to get liposuction, nose jobs, or any other plastic surgery.

My wife was not a woman with low self-esteem. She was a vibrant, loving wife and mother. P. J. loved the way she looked the first few years after her implants. Then she began to get sick, and her joints hurt, her fingers would swell. She had lupus-like symptoms and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

P. J. breast-fed two of our daughters after getting implants. Both are seriously ill. My daughter Catherine, who is with me now, was diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy as well as esophageal motility disorder. She spent years in leg braces, and now the leg braces have been replaced with a wheelchair.

Our daughter Christine also has esophageal motility disorder and leg weakness as well. In contrast, our five children born before my wife got breast implants are perfectly healthy.

After P. J. committed suicide, an autopsy was performed. Large amounts of platinum were found in her body. And a doctor at the CDC after seeing the amount of platinum in P. J.’s body said she could not have been in her right mind.

Tissue samples from our daughters who had breast-fed found that they, too, had elevated platinum levels. These findings were presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society last year.

P. J. felt terrible guilt that her two daughters had been so seriously harmed by her decision to get breast implants. It was not her fault. She had no way of knowing what would happen. Most doctors did not know that there had not been any long-term studies on the breast implants.

Just two months before my wife’s death, she testified at a previously FDA meeting on breast implants. She felt the panel ignored testimony given by women with implants.

And I am here today to ask you to listen to these patients and their loved ones and do not endorse a product not proven safe for long-term use. Women and their yet unborn children may be forever affected. This is a scientific issue and a moral issue.

Thank you.