The Inquiry restarted today and heard evidence from Professor Christopher Ludlam.
Sir Brian told the Inquiry’s audience that the next few weeks would consist of evidence from Scottish clinicians, with the focus on Edinburgh and Glasgow Haemophilia Centres.
Jenni Richards QC began the day’s hearing by asking Professor Ludlam about a document co-authored by him that had been sent to the Inquiry yesterday. Ms Richards asked Professor Ludlam why the Inquiry was only now in receipt of this document when they had issued a Rule 9 request for information from him in December 2019. Sir Brian said that he would not read the submission until the end of Professor Ludlam’s evidence and was not happy about its appearance the day before Professor Ludlam gave evidence.
During the first part of his evidence, the Inquiry heard how Professor Ludlam worked as a research fellow at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary between 1972 and 1975. Following this, Professor Ludlam then worked under the guidance of Professor Bloom at Cardiff Royal Infirmary between 1975-1979. He remarked during his evidence that Professor Bloom had spoken to him about the Bournemouth hepatitis outbreak that occurred in the mid-1970s and was cautious about using US factor concentrate after this.
Professor Ludlam explained that deliveries of Factor VIII concentrate in the late 1970s were often quite sporadic. Professor Ludlam told the Inquiry that when he returned to Edinburgh in 1980 and continued his role, the Scottish Haemophilia Centre Directors met regularly. He stated that due to the remoteness of some parts of Scotland, it was difficult to collect plasma in the west of Scotland as the population of that area was small.
The Inquiry heard how Professor Ludlam was engaged in research during his time at Edinburgh and most of the research was in relation to blood coagulation and safety. However, Professor Ludlam denied that he received research funds from pharmaceutical companies.
Professor Ludlam told the Inquiry that during the 1980s, mild haemophilia A patients were usually treated with DDAVP or cryoprecipitate for regular treatment and then Factor VIII treatment for surgery.
Concluding the first day of Professor Ludlam’s evidence, the Inquiry heard information regarding records in patients records and when a patient received a positive non-A non-B hepatitis test, this would not be recorded in their records as Professor Ludlam was of the view that a diagnosis was clear from a liver function test result.
Ms Richards began the second day of Professor Ludlam’s evidence by discussing HIV and AIDS.
The audience was shown a letter dated 1982 from Dr Craske to Professor Ludlam in which Dr Craske states he believed it was likely other severe haemophiliacs would contract AIDS. Professor Ludlam agreed that by the end of January 1983, the probable route of transmission for AIDS in haemophiliacs was through blood products.
During his evidence, the Inquiry heard how less cryoprecipitate was used for haemophilia A patients as more was required for children due to the AIDS risk factor concentrates posed.
Ms Richards QC asked Professor Ludlam about patients being informed of the risks of contracting HIV through contaminated products. Professor Ludlam stated that he didn’t proactively tell patients of such risks in 1983 and 1984.
The Inquiry heard how 16 haemophiliacs were found to be HIV positive as a result of receiving NHS blood products in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in 1984. Whilst the patients had tested positive for the virus in October 1984 they were not informed until December 1984. Professor Ludlam told the Inquiry how he received a phone call from a journalist in December 1984 who wanted to publish an article about the HIV outbreak. As a result of the journalist threatening to publish an article, Professor told his patients in a large meeting rather than on a one-to-on basis.