There are many injustices that do not get the media attention they deserve. Andrew Eborn, International Lawyer & Broadcaster, is on a mission to right wrongs and shine a light on particular issues that battle often alone
RIGHTING WRONGS – INFECTED BLOOD SCANDAL
During the 1970s and 1980s patients with various blood disorders around the world including in UK, Japan, Canada and Australia were given contaminated blood or blood products infected with Hep B, Hep C, HIV or vCJD. Some people were co-infected with more than one of these life changing viruses. The blood – including some taken from prisoners who were paid – had not been screened.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater of Manchester and former Secretary of State, used his last speech in Parliament to call it a “criminal cover up on an industrial scale” To date this has cost 3000 lives in UK alone. It has been described as the worst treatment disaster in NHS history.
THE INFECTED BLOOD INQUIRY
On 11th July 2017 Prime Minister Theresa May ordered an inquiry for victims and families into the “appalling tragedy” of contaminated blood scandal of the 1970s and 1980s. Announcing the Inquiry Theresa May pointed out “thousands of patients expected the world-class care our NHS is famous for, but they were failed… The victims and their families who have suffered so much pain and hardship deserve answers as to how this could possibly have happened.
While this government has invested record amounts to support the victims, they have been denied those answers for too long and I want to put that right. As Prime Minister, I am determined to stand up for victims and confront injustice and unfairness in our society at every turn. We will work with the victims and their families to decide what form this inquiry should take so their voices are heard and they finally get the answers and justice they have spent decades waiting for.”
The independent public statutory Inquiry is ongoing and was established “to examine the circumstances in which men, women and children treated by national Health Services in the United Kingdom were given infected blood and infected blood products, in particular since 1970.”
HELPING THE VICTIMS
I have spoken with a number of victims some of whom have given evidence to the Inquiry. Their stories are harrowing. There is also an alarming pattern in that it was often several years before they were diagnosed.
Michelle Tolley was infected in 1987 after receiving 4 units of infected blood following the birth of her son. Michelle had a second transfusion after the birth of her twins by C. Section in February 1991. It was not until November 2015 that Michelle was diagnosed. Michelle points out “I have campaigned since March 2016, to raise awareness that if it happened to me, could it have happened to you?”
Michelle now runs the support group Contaminated Whole Blood UK. The group is for victims infected and affected by Contaminated Blood. She works very closely alongside the Hepatitis C Trust also and is a Core Participant with the Infected Blood Inquiry.
Sue Wathen was given blood infected with Hepatitis C back in the 1980s but remained undiagnosed until 2014. As Sue explained “in the intervening period I had suffered many and various illnesses, some of them serious, but never had the possibility been put to me that Hep C could be the cause. I had literally hundreds of blood tests over those intervening years but, it would appear, never one for Hepatitis.” It is believed there are many who have suffered years of ill health and never been tested. Sue points out ” it has been my mission .. since my diagnosis, to inform as many people as I can….This could be you, or someone you know.”
GET TESTED. GET TREATED. GET CURED. THERE IS HOPE
The virus itself can be cured and so the earlier the diagnosis the sooner damage can be minimised.
28th July World Hepatitis Day.
‘I can’t wait’ is the new campaign theme to launch World Hepatitis Day on 28th July 2022. It highlights the need to accelerate the fight against viral hepatitis and the importance of testing and treatment for the real people who need it. The campaign amplifies the voices of people affected by viral hepatitis calling for immediate action and the end of stigma and discrimination.
WHAT IS HEPATITIS?
Hepatitis = Inflammation of the liver
Hepatitis C = Viral infection causing inflammation of the liver
The WHO estimates there are 58 million people worldwide living with Hepatitis C
It is estimated that 0.5 – 1% of the UK population has a chronic Hepatitis C infection.
Hep C is spread by coming into contact with the blood of an infected person. Populations especially at risk include those who abuse drugs, healthcare workers (due to risk of exposure), and those who received a blood transfusion before 1992 (as blood was not screened for Hep C before this date). There is a greater than 90% success rate in treating Hepatitis C with medications. However, the earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome by minimising the damage caused. Thus, it is critical that if you believe you may have Hepatitis C, to get tested and treated.
http://hepctrust.org.uk/ The Hepatitis C Trust is the national UK charity for hepatitis C with offices in London and Falkirk. It has been operating since 2001. It is a patient-led and patient-run organisation: most of the board, staff, and volunteers have had hepatitis C and have cleared it after treatment.
GET IN TOUCH
I believe that there are many injustices which do not get the media attention they deserve, or indeed desperately need the oxygen of publicity for their cause. This is where I hope to help. By focusing on the injustice and assisting to promote, I am keen to give an initial helping hand in any way I can make possible. If there are particular issues you would like me to investigate please provide information here so I can to assess if I can provide you with help.