The first witness of the final day of the first week in Edinburgh was Bill Wright. Bill spoke of his greatest passion prior to being infected as being the mountains. Bill has only ever received one treatment of Factor VIII and this was in May 1986. The day after receiving the Factor VIII Bill was told that he had a 50% chance of contracting non A, non B hepatitis and in turn he was diagnosed with hepatitis C.
Since 1994 Bill has received five different treatments and the first four of his treatments all failed. Bill described it as him being 4-0 down. The fifth course of treatment Bill received in 2015 was successful and he described how the treatment has left him with chronic fatigue and he described the effects of this fatigue on his life even today.
Bill spoke of a sense of duty and responsibility he feels, especially as the Chair of Haemophilia Scotland, to allow people to have their stories heard and his belief in the Inquiry.
At the close of Bill’s evidence he stood before the room and spoke of those in the room affected and infected and addressed his concerns to the legal teams of medical authorities and Government his hopes for the Inquiry. It was a moving statement and the room stood and applauded for Bill’s statement.
The second witness of the day was Rosemary Wright who is Bill’s wife. She described how, before Bill was infected with hepatitis C, the world was their oyster and with the diagnosis their lives changed. She spoke of the years of uncertainty, anxiety and fear and how having their hopes constantly dashed was enough to wear them down eventually.
Rosemary spoke of the impact on both her and Bill of the loss of the mountains to them as a couple as they used to enjoy the mountains together and only she is able to do this hobby now. She described the feeling of there never being a clear road ahead and how they were unable to plan more than 3 months in advance due to the unpredictability of Bill’s illness.
In her closing statement Rosemary spoke of the hepatitis C as a cloud/shadow that has affected different aspects of their lives. She spoke of her wish for the Inquiry to deal with the issue of communication between patients and doctors. Rosemary finished by saying that she wants justice and for people to be able to move on and for too many years those infected and affected have been ignored which has added to their distress.
The final witness of the day and of the first week was Richard. His wife Patricia received a blood transfusion in the early 1980’s and passed away in 2012.
Following Patricia’s blood transfusion it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that she was diagnosed as HIV positive following a large number of tests to establish the cause of her illnesses. Richard spoke of his memories of Patricia and how the Eileen Trust helped them after her diagnosis.
In his closing statement Richard spoke of his desire for answers to his questions including why the medical records were destroyed, why Patricia wasn’t called back for testing in the 1990’s and his hope that people will get some justice as 30 years is too long.