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24 Jul 19
Infected Blood Inquiry – Oral Hearing Cardiff – Week 1, Day 1

Sir Brian opened the Cardiff hearings of the Inquiry by stating that the Inquiry would be open and transparent, emphasising to those in the attendance that every person participating in the Inquiry had a right to be heard.

Karisa Jones

The first witness of the day was Karisa Jones. Her husband had an accident in 1990 which resulted in him receiving a blood transfusion. In 2012, her husband’s health began to deteriorate. Her subsequently had a scan on his liver which revealed he had hepatitis C. At the time the doctor told Karisa’s husband he was likely to have contracted this from the blood transfusion he had in 1990.

Karisa told the Inquiry how she and her children were then tested for hepatitis C. The children’s tests came back negative however Karisa’s test came back positive.  Karisa described the guilt her husband felt for infecting her and said he would often blame himself.

Concluding her evidence, Karisa told of her late husband’s horrific death. She described the anguish she faced having treatment just a few months after his death which led to her becoming severely depressed.

Gerald Stone

The second witness was Gerald Stone.  Gerald told the Inquiry that as a severe haemophiliac he would often be in and out of hospital receiving treatment. To keep a track of the products he was given Gerald made a note of every batch number and blood product he received.

In 1983, Gerald read a Communicable Disease Report that stated that a haemophiliac in the South Wales area had contracted AIDS. Gerald attempted to tell his doctor about what he had read in the report but he was questioned on how he knew about this.

In 1985, the blood product ‘Profiline ‘was administered to Gerald. This was an American product. Gerald told the Inquiry he knows a fellow haemophiliac who received the same batch number as himself and was also infected.

It wasn’t until 1993 that Gerald was told he was infected with hepatitis C. During his evidence, the Inquiry were shown medical records which demonstrated that medical professionals knew of Gerald’s hepatitis C as far back as 1990. The information was with withheld from him for 3 years.

Summing up his evidence, Gerald said this was the first time he had shared his story with anyone other than his wife and medical professionals.

Susan Sparkes

The final witness was Susan Sparkes. In her evidence, Susan shared the story of her husband who was a haemophiliac and had received contaminated blood products. In 1983 they welcomed their first child. Susan told the Inquiry how two years later her husband was diagnosed with HIV. It was later discovered her husband had tested positive for the virus in 1983 but they were not told.

Susan told the Inquiry her husband had a fear of telling anyone he had haemophilia due to the potential reaction people would have.  After a long battle Susan’s husband passed away in 1990. Susan said that he was in considerable pain when he died.

Concluding her evidence Susan told the Inquiry how her sons did not have their dad at their wedding and he has missed out on meeting his grandchildren.

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