Sunday Night November 1

This weekend  Sunday Night looks  contraceptive implants, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and a medical breakthrough.

The Contraceptive Controversy
It’s been hailed as a no-fuss, straight-forward and safe contraceptive solution. Women who no longer wanted to fall pregnant could have this simple device implanted without surgery in a 15-minute procedure and it would effectively sterilize them, permanently. No more pills, no more troublesome IUDs. It was hoped this approach, developed in part by an Adelaide specialist, would revolutionize female reproductive health around the world. So far 750, 000 women have been sold on its safety and reliability and had it implanted. But thousands of those women are now reporting major complications, excruciating pain, haemorrhaging and punctured organs. Some have seen the implant migrate to other parts of their body or shatter into small pieces. Many have fallen pregnant. Some women have died. In this global investigation, Sunday Night exposes the dangerous, even fatal flaws in this popular contraceptive and explores nightmare cases where women have been forced to undergo multiple, highly invasive operations to deal with its complications. We examine the experience of one Australian patient who fell pregnant three times despite the manufacturer’s claims of near certain prevention. Sunday Night’s Dr Andrew Rochford discovers many of these women are fighting back, determined to hold the manufacturer to account and to get the device withdrawn from the market. And they’ve got a powerful ally on their side. Legendary consumer advocate and determined campaigner Erin Brockovich is on the case with a withering assessment of the company behind the device, the regulatory flaws that allowed it to be declared safe without proper independent study and that now prevent many women from suing the manufacturer for damages.

Race to the Clouds
Strap in for the ride of your life. For 51 weeks a year, Pikes Peak, one of the highest mountains in Colorado, is a sleeping giant, peacefully smiling down upon the tens of thousands of visitors who take in the spectacular scenery. But for that other week, the giant is awake, daring the bravest of the brave in one of motorsport’s most perilous challenges – a race to the summit around the twisting, turning, cliff-clinging road to the summit. Mistakes are fatal and Sunday Night reporter Denham Hitchcock came as close to danger as you could get. During race practice, Denham witnessed a tragic accident that saw one young motorcyclist Carl Sorenson lose his life. Carl was not the first to die here doing what he loved and he won’t be the last. This year we buckle-up alongside local female driver, Lori Wood in her “four-wheeled missile” and hold our breath for the high-speed antics of Aussie daredevils Nathan Barker and Jeff Denmeade. It’s a battle of wills, of pushing to the edge of the envelope without spiralling over a massive, deadly drop. It’s an exhilarating Sunday Night adventure story.

Eyes Wide Open – New Hope
They were on a rollicking adventure to see as many of the world’s wonders as they could before they could see them no more. A few months ago, Sunday Night introduced audiences to the White family from Sydney. Mum, Beth, has been blind since her early 20s with a rare form of Retinitis Pigmentosa. She and husband David hoped the children wouldn’t inherit the genetic condition, but they did. Kathryn, Samuel and Matthew would go blind by the time they reached adulthood. Instead of being overwhelmed by their future, the Whites scrimped and saved and set off on a trip to see and do all they could before the children’s blindness set in. Following our story, public donations enabled a medical team to fire up urgent research. Now, that’s brought real hope. In a world first, they’ve isolated the gene that caused the disease and they’ve begun applying their discovery in treatment for the children. It means they’re one step closer in a long battle to restoring their sight. This medical breakthrough has the potential to help thousands of others suffering genetic eye conditions. For the White family, it’s a race against time. Will the treatment arrest their deteriorating sight before it’s too late?

Sunday at 7pm on Seven.

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