Day 2 of the hearings in Edinburgh began with Eileen Dyson who was infected via a blood transfusion in the late 1980’s. Eileen spoke of the difficulties she experienced in taking care of her two young children after the birth of her second child but she put this fatigue down to caring for two young children.
In early 1994 Eileen was diagnosed as hepatitis C positive and was devastated by the diagnosis. Eileen did a lot of her own research into her infection and tried to find out the batch numbers of the blood she received. Eileen ran into difficulties with the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service who could not locate the information but who today, in a statement provided to the Inquiry, apologised for this.
Eileen spoke of treatment she received in France and how the doctors and nurses there were sympathetic and empathetic to her infection of hepatitis C which made her realise that her treatment within NHS Scotland had been very different.
In Eileen’s closing statement of her evidence she spoke of her wishes for the infected and affected to be listened to as they are the experts in understanding the impact of NHS policies.
The second witness of the day was John. His son Ewan was born in 1977 and was a severe haemophiliac. He was also providing evidence on behalf of his late brother in law Terry.
John spoke of how Ewan was on cryoprecipitate treatment and was moved to Factor VIII products in the late 1970’s. John spoke of how he began to become aware of the risks of imported Factor VIII in the early 1980’s and by 1983 was requesting Scottish blood products every time Ewan required treatment.
Terry was diagnosed with HIV in 1983 and passed away in 1984. Before his death he told John that heat treatment was the answer and to avoid imported US products.
In 1985 Ewan was diagnosed as HIV positive and for around four years life carried on as normal. In the early 1990’s Ewan’s health began to deteriorate and in 1994 Ewan passed away.
One of John’s main questions for the Inquiry was that why were the risk of the imported Factor VIII not discussed with the parents and why wasn’t the risk balanced against the convenience of the Factor VIII.
Gill, Stanley, Rory and Lucy – The Fyffe family
The final witnesses of the day were the Fyffe family. Gill contracted hepatitis C after a blood transfusion following the birth of her daughter in the late 1980’s.
Until 1995 Gill described feelings of extreme fatigue and the family used to say that there was something going on that they didn’t understand. In late 1995 Gill was diagnosed with hepatitis C.
The family went on to discuss the impact of the diagnosis and Gill’s treatment with Interferon on two separate occasions and after the second treatment she received the all clear from hepatitis C in 2000.
Gill and her family then spoke of the lasting effects of hepatitis C and the treatment and how she now suffers with an auto-immune disease which causes extreme photosensitivity. The family have conducted research and found out this can be linked to the Interferon treatment.
During their closing statements each family member described the silence that they have faced in regard to official recognition and their hope that the Inquiry will change this and they will receive answers.
Rory spoke poignantly of how the number of people infected and who have died as a result of receiving infected blood products is akin in number to Dunkirk, the Twin Towers and Chenobyl.