Around 34,000 people got infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis C via England’s National Health Service‘s (NHS) blood drive back in the 1980s, with more than 2,000 of them losing their lives while others incurring life-long ailments.
Lauren Palmer, who is now 33 years old, lost both of her parents to the NHS contaminated blood scandal. Palmer was only nine when her parents Steven and Barbara both passed away. She related how devastating life had become after her father was given blood that was infected with HIV and hepatitis C, which he unwittingly passed on to her mother.
“My father had a blood disease called hemophilia which he got blood transfusions for. [He] was given Factor VIII not knowing that it was infected with HIV and hepatitis C. He then also passed it on to my mother and they both died when I was nine years old, within eight days of one another. My dad had known for eight years that he had HIV but my mom was only told shortly before her death. When she was diagnosed she had Burkitt Lymphoma, which is a late-stage auto immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). She’d obviously had it longer but hadn’t been diagnosed with it.”
Factor VIII, an essential blood-clotting protein plasma that is also known as an anti-hemophilic factor, is made from imported blood.
Palmer said that aside from the illness, her parents had to cope with mental issues as well, as a result of the unfortunate incident that happened to them. “My mom became very mentally ill and had a drinking problem because of it, which I remember hugely impacted me. I think she was sectioned twice and my middle brother had to care for her. I think he was 12 years old [at the time].”
Palmer said that for years, her mother tried to knock at the government’s door and ask help for their plight, but her pleas reached deaf ears. “My auntie [also] tried for years – writing letters to MPs (member of parliament) and Princess Diana (Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales) – but sadly that fell short too.”
Back in 1992, The Daily Mail started a drive that sought to illuminate the public about the mishap that the government was behind of that caused dangers to thousands of hemophiliacs in the United Kingdom. (Related: Scandal-hit hospital left child dehydrated after heart surgery, sucking on wet wipes until his death)
Now the matter is being revived. During the first week of July 2017, Labour Party MP for Hull North Diana Ruth Johnson said the NHS contaminated blood scandal is a “criminal coverup of an industrial scale” and asked Prime Minister Theresa Mary May to launch an investigation into it, noting, “2,400 people have died as a result of the NHS contaminated blood scandal, more than Hillsborough, and all the other disasters over the previous few decades put together.”
For her part, Prime Minister May said: “She raises an important issue and I know that the thoughts of members of the House will be with all of those who have been affected by this terrible tragedy, in relation to contaminated blood.”
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