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FW: NATAP: Infected with HCV from Blood Transfusions in UK

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  • alleypat
    Thousands infected with HCV from blood transfusion Stuart Oliver before and after his illness Chris Bishop Norfolk Eastern Daily Press - Norfolk,England,UK 26
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 27, 2006
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      Thousands infected with HCV from blood transfusion


      Stuart Oliver before and after his illness

      Chris Bishop
      Norfolk Eastern Daily Press - Norfolk,England,UK
      26 January 2006

      These are the pictures that show how an East Anglian businessman was reduced
      from a healthy family man to a frail shadow of his former self - the victim
      of a blood transfusion scandal.

      Stuart Oliver, 47, died of cancer and chronic liver disease exactly a year
      ago today, just weeks after doctors discovered he had contracted hepatitis
      C.

      Now, an EDP investigation has revealed that the NHS took more than 15 years
      to warn some patients they might have been infected, and that many more
      remain unaware they could be at risk.

      Last night, Norwich North MP Dr Ian Gibson, who founded the Commons
      All-Party Group on Cancer, said: "There is a huge volcano waiting to explode
      on this issue.

      "It's predicted many more people will have hepatitis C in the next few
      years. It needs more political action."

      Mr Oliver's widow Pauline, 55, said: "I wonder how many more Stuarts there
      are walking around out there, not knowing they could be three months from
      death. It all happened so fast we didn't have a chance."

      Doctors believe Mr Oliver, of Friday Bridge, near Wisbech, was given
      infected blood at the Peterborough General Hospital, during surgery for
      injuries he received in a car crash in 1987. He carried the disease
      completely unawares for almost two decades and by the time he was taken ill,
      late in 2004, it was too late to save him.

      The Health Protection Agency believes up to 200,000 people contracted
      hepatitis C from infected blood. But only one in four is aware they have the
      disease.

      The Hepatitis C Trust believes as many as 500,000 could have been infected.

      Its chief executive Charles Gore said: "If 50,000 have been diagnosed,
      that's one in 10 and 450,000 is the volcano bubbling away with serious
      implications for the NHS."

      Hepatitis C was not discovered until 1988, a year after Mr Oliver's
      transfusion.

      Blood screening did not begin until an effective test was developed three
      years later.

      The National Blood Service admits it does not know how many people could
      have been infected before then.

      Four years later, the NHS launched a campaign to trace those at risk of
      infection.

      But instead of contacting all those who had been given a transfusion, it
      waited until screening identified an infected donor.

      That means anyone infected prior to 1991, whose donor did not give blood
      after checks were put in place, would slip through the net.

      Last night Mr Oliver's daughter Kerry, 34, said: "It's a year since he died
      and no-one's prepared to take responsibility or even tell us what went
      wrong.

      "They must have known they'd given him infected blood but nothing was done
      about it. We just want to know why."

      Mr Oliver's MP, Malcolm Moss, said: "It was the speed of his deterioration
      which was so shocking.

      "I have written to the Health Minister pointing out the discrepancy between
      when the screening was done and going back to advise those who had
      transfusions before that date.

      "I've asked him to investigate and for an explanation to be given."

      Peterborough General Hospital, whose A&E department treated Stuart Oliver
      after his car crash in 1987, said: "The trust never received any instruction
      from the Regional Transfusion Centre to check its records against blood
      products that would have been relevant to the deceased. The reasons for this
      need to be taken up with the National Blood Authority."

      The National Blood Authority said in a statement: "If an infected donor did
      not give blood after screening was introduced in late 1991, then the donor
      and the blood service would not know that the donor had hepatitis C and no
      look back would be done on that person's previous donations.

      "We have no way of knowing how many of these there are or identifying them."

      In December 2004, as Stuart Oliver and his family came to terms with the
      fact he had weeks left to live, a public information campaign was finally
      launched to warn people given transfusions that they may have become
      infected.

      Ministers have so far refused calls for a public enquiry saying it would do
      nothing to help sufferers.

      Last week, the Government admitted documents concerning contaminated blood
      given to patients before 1991 had been destroyed.

      Former Health Secretary Lord Jenkin told the Lords he had been told key
      papers were missing when he tried to research the issue on behalf of
      sufferers.

      Last night he told the EDP: "Somebody went through all the files and
      extracted anything which could conceivably have anything to do with
      contaminated blood.

      "There are a lot of people out there who think there's a conspiracy to
      destroy the evidence."

      My dad was dying and we never knew

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