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01 Nov 19
Infected Blood Inquiry – London (October) Hearings – Week 3, Day 5

Mr AW

The first witness was anonymous witness Mr AW. In the early 1990s Mr AW was diagnosed with leukaemia. The treatment for the leukaemia included a number of blood transfusions. Mr AW successfully cleared the leukaemia.

Mr AW told the Inquiry that in 2003 he received a letter from a haemophilia centre inviting him to come in and see a consultant whom he had never spoken to or seen before. Mr AW said in that appointment he was told he had tested positive for hepatitis C.

The Inquiry heard how Mr AW had a number of hospital appointments between 2000- 2003. It was only upon viewing his medical records did Mr AW find out medical professionals had tested him for hepatitis C in 2000. When Mr AW had blood tests in that period he was never told that hepatitis C was showing up on his results.

Mr AW then went onto discuss the struggle himself and his wife have been through whilst attempting to expand their family.

Concluding his evidence Mr AW said that after watching other live streams of witness evidence from the Inquiry he now knows that a number of people like him have been affected.

Mrs AX

The second witness of the day was anonymous witness Mrs AX. Mrs AX told the Inquiry she was going to discuss her late husband.

Mrs AX said her husband developed a kidney infection during the mid 1980s. Following this kidney infection his health deteriorated and he was eventually placed on kidney dialysis in the 1990s. Shortly after being placed on dialysis, Mrs AX’s husband was diagnosed with hepatitis C.

Mrs AX told the Inquiry how she during one hospital appointment with a medical professional she saw a sticker which said “category 3 risk”.

Mrs AX described one particular incident in which she received poor treatment from medical professionals when they found out her husband had hepatitis C.

Mrs AX told the Inquiry in some detail how her husband had changed as a person. She stated he became difficult to live when he began his treatment for the hepatitis C.

Concluding her evidence Mrs AX told the Inquiry how making funeral arrangements for her husband was very difficult. She stated how the undertakers cremated her husband in his hospital gown with his suit on top of him. Mrs AX wish was for Mr AX to be cremated dressed in his suit.

David Rankin

The third witness of the day was David Rankin. David told the Inquiry he was a mild haemophiliac. When David was  younger he was offered a place at Treloars school, however his parents declined this and David instead received a state education.

David told the Inquiry that when he was younger he had wanted to join the RAF. David was told he was not suitable for the RAF because of his haemophilia but the RAF did offer him an admin role. David declined this job and instead began working in a London bank.

David described how he was diagnosed with hepatitis C in the mid 1990s after feeling weak and having regular sickness. Following on from his diagnosis David began treatment for hepatitis C. He explained how he was intolerable to live with and his marriage subsequently broke down.

In the years that followed David’s health deteriorated further and he was placed on the waiting list for a liver transplant. David received a liver transplant which his body did not accept, David subsequently received a second transplant which his body accepted.

The Inquiry heard how David developed a dependency on the drug Fentanyl. Concluding his evidence David stated he was now in a better place in his life and was engaged to be married.

Mary Grindley

The final witness of the day and concluding the witness evidence part of the Inquiry was Mary Grindley. Mary’s evidence discussed her late husband, John Grindley.

During her evidence Mary described how in 1983 her husband had a skin prick test which tested for AIDS. Her husband subsequently had an adverse reaction to the test. Only in 1985 was it confirmed John was HIV positive.

Mary’s evidence described how her husband had planned his own funeral and paid for his own funeral plan. Mary told the Inquiry how John had stated “I don’t want to die”.

The Inquiry heard how Mary campaigned for a public inquiry for many years and gave evidence to the Archer Inquiry.

The Inquiry was shown letters between Mary and former MP Edwina Curry in which the latter had stated “good Christian people don’t get AIDS”.

Mary told the inquiry how her husband faced terrible stigma and had his car vandalised and faced scrutiny at work.

Concluding her evidence Mary thanked the Inquiry for giving her the opportunity to give witness evidence but also stated there is still no closure, no admission and things are still swept under the carpet.

Concluding remarks by Sir Brian

Summing up the final week witness evidence,  Sir Brian stated he found it remarkable that so many witnesses wanted to give evidence. He said true courage is shown when people have an easy choice or a risky choice that they choose the risky choice. He went onto add the Inquiry has painted so many themes and said there were however a few emerging themes. Firstly, the decisions made in the 60s,70s and 80s continue to have an impact to  this day.

Secondly, Sir Brian said it had been a year since he wrote to the Cabinet office regarding parity of payments for victims and their families.  He added the grinding hardship of many should not be put on hold while the inquiry continues.

Thirdly, Sir Brian went onto discuss the outcome of the Inquiry. He said if wrongs were done then he has the power to under the Inquiry’s Act to say so and if he believed wrongs had been committed he was not afraid to say so.

Sir Brian stated the next round of evidence would be from experts in February 2020. He added that some of these experts specialised in social and psychological impacts.  The Inquiry could also expect to hear from experts on hepatitis, HIV blood and bleeding disorders.

Following on from expert evidence in February there would be more hearings in June.

Sir Brian concluded by stating that the evidence of each witness adds something, something new and something different to the overall picture and that he was Interested in hearing more from individuals who have blood conditions such as  thalaasemia and sickle cell anaemia.

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