Infected Blood Inquiry – Oral Hearing Edinburgh – Week 1, Day 3
The opening witness of day three was Pamela Pennycook who was infected via blood transfusion during spinal fusion surgery. Pamela was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2005.
Pamela spoke in her evidence how, until only a matter of months ago, only six people in her life knew of her hepatitis C as she was worried about the stigma she might experience. She spoke of how when she shared her secret the relief she felt.
Pamela is now clear of hepatitis C and thanked her family and friends for their support both over the years since being diagnosed and recently.
The second witness of the day was Alice who was giving evidence for both herself and on the behalf of her husband Robert who was infected with HIV and hepatitis C.
Robert is a severe haemophiliac and was initially treated with cryoprecipitate and moved on to Factor VIII in the early 1980’s. On all but one occasion Robert received Scottish blood products. Alice spoke of the specific batch that infected Robert which was confirmed by a letter by the Haemophilia Consultant as the contaminated batch. Robert was informed of his HIV infection in 1987 and hepatitis C in 2000.
Alice talked in detail of an AIDS study conducted by Dr Ludlum which Robert was not aware that he was enrolled in. There are research papers written by Dr Ludlum of the study where he refers to the patients as the ‘Edinburgh Haemophilia cohort’. Alice explained that of the 16 haemophiliacs in that study who were given infected blood only 3 of them are alive today,
At the closing of Alice’s evidence she spoke of her hope for haemophiliacs to not be treated as experiments and how they are treated as a group even today is not right. She described the Inquiry as an inquiry looking into ‘secrets and lives’.
The final witness of day three was Ms S and during her evidence so spoke of the infection of her late Mum. Both Ms S and her late mother suffered with von Willebrands disease and Ms S worked as a technician at a Haematology laboratory in the early 1980’s. She spoke of how the risks were known in the labs of high risk bloods.
Ms S’s mum was initially treated with cryoprecipitate and started being treated with Factor VIII in the early 1980’s. In 1992 she tested hepatitis C positive but wasn’t told of the diagnosis until 1993. Ms S spoke of how her mum had Interferon treatment in 1995 but this failed and she refused to have any further treatment despite the threat of liver cirrhosis. Ms S’s mum passed away in 2012 just short of her 85th birthday.
She closed her evidence by saying she wanted to give evidence to give her parents a voice and hoped that the Inquiry would hold those responsible to account.
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