Contaminated blood: Son sues government over dad’s HIV death from blood products
- Credit: BBC Panorama
A campaigner is taking a landmark legal case against the government over the contaminated blood disaster - providing new hope that victims of the health scandal will finally receive justice.
Jason Evans, whose father died after being given HIV, has uncovered a new document that shows the government had “conclusive evidence” Aids was in blood products from April 1984.
But the Department of Health memo also shows the government did not acknowledge this publicly until December 20, 1984.
Tragically Mr Evans’ father, who had haemophilia, was infected with HIV through treatment with Factor VIII blood products within that window of delay. He died of Aids aged 31.
Jason is suing the government for alleged negligence and breach of statutory duty.
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He said: “I feel, and the other children of victims feel, that ultimately the deaths of our fathers are recorded as a lie.”
Former health minister Nicola Blackwood was recently asked for the memo and said it could not be located. But Mr Evans found it within the national archives.
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The legal case is a significant new development in the campaign for justice for victims and its outcome could set a precedent for others affected by the disaster.
Jason, 27, believes that as the Aids crisis unfolded, patients should have been told about the potential risks of treatment.
Thousands of people with the blood clotting disorder haemophilia were given HIV and hepatitis C (hep C) through Factor VIII products used by the NHS in the 1980s and many others contracted hep C through blood transfusions. More than 2,000 have since died.
Tony Farrugia lost his father Barry Farrugia, of Whitebarn Lane, Dagenham, to Aids aged 37.
His dad first showed symptoms of HIV infection in July 1984 after Factor VIII treatment.
Tony has campaigned for answers and compensation for his family.
Of the new legal case, he said: “This is definitely a step in the right direction for everybody else affected if it is successful.”
More than 120 people have so far joined Mr Evans in the group action lawsuit.
Des Collins, of Collins Solicitors, the firm handling the case, said “This is a wrong which must now be put right. It is essential that lessons are learned from this tragedy so that such disastrous mistakes are not repeated in the future.”
The Department of Health made no comment when contacted by the Post, saying it was restricted by regulations in the run-up to the election.
A BBC Panorama programme last week highlighted calls for a new public inquiry over the blood disaster and featured a short clip of the Farrugia family.