New developments in the UK infected blood scandal

Some recent revelations, made known by the BBC, have profoundly shaken public opinion in the United Kingdom. What has emerged is already known as the "infected blood scandal" and the details of the matter are truly disturbing

In the United Kingdom, the “infected blood” scandal, one of the most significant health disasters ever, is back in the spotlight due to fresh revelations by the BBC and the upcoming release of a comprehensive report. During the 1970s and 1980s, clinical experiments were secretly conducted on children without parental consent.

The victims of the infected blood scandal

The scandal primarily affected two groups within the British National Health Service. The first group consisted of hemophiliacs and others with similar disorders, who relied on blood clotting treatments. These treatments, developed from donated plasma in the 70s and 80s, were fatally contaminated with viruses. The second group includes those who received contaminated blood transfusions during childbirth, surgeries, or other medical treatments between 1970 and 1991.

How many people fell ill and died

The public inquiry into the scandal revealed that approximately 1,250 people with bleeding disorders in the UK contracted both HIV and hepatitis C, including 380 children; tragically, about two-thirds of them later died from AIDS-related illnesses. Additionally, it’s estimated that between 2,400 and 5,000 people contracted hepatitis C alone. The inquiry also estimates that between 80 and 100 people contracted HIV, while about 27,000 contracted hepatitis C, totaling around 2,900 deaths due to the scandal.

The case of Luke O’Shea-Phillips

Survivor Luke O’Shea-Phillips told the BBC that he was treated like a “guinea pig.” At age three, he was infected with hepatitis C during a clinical trial at Middlesex Hospital in London, without full awareness of the risks involved. Documents viewed by the BBC suggest that the blood product given to him was known to be potentially infected by his doctor, indicating deliberate inclusion in a clinical trial.

How were these infections possible

Beyond some doctors’ deliberate intent to include new patients in clinical trials, other patient infections resulted from a lack of precautions in the blood supply process. In the 1970s, the UK imported large quantities of blood from the US, often from high-risk donors like prisoners and drug addicts. Despite repeated warnings about the dangers of imported products, British authorities continued to use them, delaying decisive actions even after HIV was discovered, insisting on the lack of “conclusive evidence” regarding virus transmission through blood.

The inquiry and compensation for the victims

Announced in 2017 and led by former judge Sir Brian Langstaff, the inquiry gathered evidence from 2019 to 2023, with the final report set for release in May 2024. Although victims have received annual financial support from the government, a final compensation settlement has not yet been reached. In 2022, the government made provisional payments of £100,000 to about 4,000 surviving victims, but Brian has recommended further compensation for children and parents of the victims. However, the government stated it would be “inappropriate” to discuss new payments until the full report is published.

No compensation can ever truly compensate for the severe consequences suffered by thousands of individuals. As the inquiry seeks to uncover the full truth, victims and their families continue to fight for justice.

Source: BBC

The article draws upon studies published and recommendations from international institutions and/or experts. We do not make claims in the medical-scientific field and report the facts as they are. Sources are indicated at the end of each article.
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