The Infected Blood Inquiry
The Infected Blood Inquiry has begun its investigation into why men, women and children were given infected blood and products throughout the 1970s and 1980s and is in the process of obtaining evidence and witness statements. It is estimated that as many as 24,000 NHS patients were killed and a further 25,000 infected as a result.
Despite assurances from medical authorities that blood was safe after September 1991, recent evidence given by Carolyn Challis has brought this cut-off date into question. Carolyn claims that she contracted hepatitis C while receiving treatment for cancer in 1992.
Rachel Halford, the chief executive of the Hepatitis C Trust said: “There’s a strong case building that more people may have been infected after 1991. It may be because antibodies don’t appear in the blood up until six months after infection. It may have been from frozen blood taken earlier”.
Martin Beard was not told about his HIV diagnosis
Martin Beard was treated for haemophilia from infancy at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. He was given a so-called “miracle drug” called Factor VIII, which was designed to aid clotting. However, Factor VIII was made by pooling blood from thousands of donors. It only took one infected donor to contaminate the whole batch.
It was not until Martin transferred to North Staffordshire Hospital at age 17 that he was first told that he had HIV. He was told at the time that he had just two years to live. Mr Beard later discovered that medical professionals had learned of his diagnosis previously but had actively decided to withhold the information from him.
A letter from a consultant at Leicester Royal Infirmary, where Mr Beard had received treatment, to a registrar at Birmingham Children’s Hospital states: “We note that he is HTLV 3 [HIV] antibody positive, but is not aware of this and that you do not wish this to be divulged to him.”
Mr Beard said that the ten years after he was informed of his condition were “a very, very difficult dark time because there was no medication, stigma was at a high. Also, during that time my cousin who also contracted HIV through haemophilia – he passed away.” Mr Beard also lost his job and many of his friends as a result of the stigma surrounding HIV.
The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said: “Irrespective of this occurring 34 years ago, we are taking this matter very seriously”.
Fahmidah Ali, a Solicitor from the Medical Accident Group, said: “This is a truly saddening case and it is deeply concerning that the relevant medical institutions actively chose to keep Mr Beard’s diagnosis from him. We have experience dealing with patients who have had a delay in being informed of their diagnosis and help them to seek answers from medical practitioners wherever possible.”
We deal with all areas of medical negligence including negligent treatment following a diagnosis. If you or someone you know has had a delay in being informed of a diagnosis or have lost a loved one due to their condition not being managed correctly then please contact us. If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668 or email us at [email protected]