Contaminated Blood Scandal of the Seventies, UK Announces Fresh Inquiry
No one really expects something like a blood scandal to occur in a developed country but that is exactly what happened in England during the 1970s and 80’s. A UK wide inquiry is now scheduled into the contaminated blood scandal which has tragically left 2,400 people dead. A spokesman for the Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed the death toll and said that her government will now reopen the case and establish the causes of the “appalling injustice” that occurred in one of the worst scandals of modern day Britain.
During the time, thousands of pf patients were administered infected blood products imported from abroad leading to rampant and fatal infections like hepatitis C and HIV. It was termed the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.
1 Families of Victims deserve answers, says May
In an interview to the BBC, Theresa May said “They deserve answers, and the inquiry that I have announced today will give them those answers, so they will know why this happened, how it happened. This was an appalling tragedy and it should never have happened”
Many of the victims and their families were not even warned of the risks involved in receiving the blood and most of them believe that the entire incident was hushed under a cover up. The blood scandals were once again unearthed by a recent parliamentary report which found almost 7500 patients were infected with contaminated blood. Among the patients were those who were already suffering from diseases like hemophilia. Such patients require constant treatment with a clotting agent called Factor VIII which is derived only from donated blood.
2 Blood products donated by prison inmates
The blood supplies had been imported by the UK were quite an amount of the plasma required to produce factor VIII were actually donated by prison inmates in the US known for selling their own blood. One such victim was the father of Jason Evans then only four years at the time. His father, a Hemophiliac was infected with the HIV contaminated blood and died.
Only recently, Jason uncovered the fact that his father had raised several health concerns with his doctors about the possibility of the factor VIII being contaminated. He was told by his doctors that there was nothing to worry about.
3 The inquiry
The nature of the inquiry will be decided after consultation with the families of victims who died from receiving the contaminated blood. The PM said it could be either a Public Hillsborough inquiry or a judicial one. Jeremy Corbyn was quoted as saying that the inquiry should be powered with making immediate prosecutions.
Spokesman for the Scottish government expressed surprise that the inquiry may extend to Scotland without prior discussion with the Scottish government. According to the government, the Scottish people have already been given answers through the Penrose inquiry and that the people of Wales and England should now get the same.
4 Why has it taken so long and will compensation be given to victims
The government has been squarely blamed for delaying the inquiry of the contaminated blood scandal. Greater Manchester mayor and former health secretary Andy Burnham stated in the Commons that a “criminal cover-up on an industrial scale” had taken place.
Where compensation is concerned, a fund was set up to help support survivors and there have been payments made to a few of the people who were infected. If the inquiry is successful, it could trigger an onslaught of people seeking large amounts of compensation through the courts. According to Liz Carrol, chief executive of the Hemophilia Society, the government has dragged its heels over an inquiry which was long overdue. The inquiry will now make the government admit negligence and provide evidence of wrongdoing.
5 How safe are blood products now?
The contaminated blood scandal is not much likely to occur again because of strict monitoring in place. There have been several improvements in blood vetting and by 1096; the UK was already improving the quality of blood administered to patients requiring treatments. In the late nineties, synthetic hemophilic treatments became available without posing any risk of infection.
Those who have received a blood transfusion before 1991 possess a risk of hepatitis C as the blood transfusions were never screened at the time. Today blood donations are thoroughly checked and tested for infections that include HIV and Hepatitis C.