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20 Jun 19
Infected Blood Inquiry – Oral Hearing Leeds – Week 2, Day 2

Mr O

Day two of the Leeds hearings started with the anonymous witness Mr O.  He has haemophilia A and was moved onto Factor VIII products in the early 1980’s.  Mr O was told at the age of 14 that he had been infected with HIV and after this diagnosis he avoided going to hospital as he didn’t want the hassle of being grilled about his life.  He talked about how he is stubborn with treatment and how he preferred to do things his way.  After being diagnosed with HIV at such a young age Mr O was also diagnosed with hepatitis B and C.

At the closing of his evidence Mr O talked about the trust that was put in the treating doctors and the only mistake that those infected have made was listening to the professionals when they said that Factor VIII treatment was safe to use when it wasn’t.

Susan Harrison

The second witness of the day was Susan Harrison.  Her story was unique in that she doesn’t suffer with a bleeding disorder and has never required a blood transfusion.  After her mother, who suffered from mild Von Willebrands disease, passed away in September 1976, Susan was called into hospital for blood tests where a measure of her blood was taken and replaced with Factor VIII. Her blood was then tested throughout the day.  It is believed that this was the source of infection.

Mrs Harrison told the Inquiry of her retirement plans to move to Northern Cyprus and that it was through her emigration plans that she discovered she had hepatitis C.  She spoke of her fight to return to Northern Cyprus since clearing the infection.

Mrs Harrison praised the support she has received from her family and friends and her hopes for the outcome of the Inquiry.

Shirley

The final witness of the day was a second anonymous witness who wished to be referred to as Shirley.  Shirley received a blood transfusion in 1977 but had what she described as a normal medical life until 2018.

In 2018, after her husband had some routine tests, it transpired that Shirley was infected with hepatitis C and unfortunately her husband and youngest son had also been infected.

Shirley described herself as ‘lucky’ compared to others who have given evidence and the fact that she had been ‘blissfully unaware’ of her infection for so many years.

Shirley closed her evidence by thanking her hospital and GP for the exemplary care she has received and her wish that everyone infected could receive the same quality of care that she and her family have received and continue to receive.

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