- Doctors were advised to not tell patients that blood
products used in transfusions were feared to have been taken from a donor
infected with CJD.
- A leaked memo sent to haemophilia centres by a laboratory
supplying blood products orders the recall of the products because a donor
was found "not to have met the current health requirements for CJD",
the human form of mad cow disease.
- The memo from the Bio Products Laboratory, in Hertfordshire,
acting on the advice of the Lothian Ethical Committee, recommended to doctors
that "Recipients (patients) should not be informed that the product
that they have received has been recalled for this reason".
- Haemophiliacs in the North-East already infected with
HIV and Hepatitis C last night said they were "furious" about
- Since the memo was written in 1997, seven of the 85 British
victims of CJD have since been identified as donors before they showed
obvious symptoms of the disease.
- A spokesperson for Haemophilia North, herself a partner
of a co-infected haemophiliac, said: "The haemophilia population is
just sick of this. These people already have up to four viruses in their
bodies through treatment that has been given to them on the NHS - now we
discover there is a risk of a fifth.
- "How can we ever believe what we are being told?"
- The letter, faxed to all haemophilia centres including
the North-East branch at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, states that "BPL
have initiated a recall of the following product."
- It continues: "Subsequent to donation, the donor
was found not to have met the current health requirements for CJD.
- "The advice from the Lothian Ethical Committee is
that the recipients (patients) should not be informed the product they
have received has been recalled for this reason."
- Jane Martin, sales and marketing director for BPL, said
this was only meant as guidance for the doctors.
- "Ultimately, it was the individual doctor's decision
whether or not to disclose the information to the patients," she said.
- "The recall was done very quickly and efficiently
as soon as a risk was perceived.
- "I can understand the situation from the haemophiliacs'
point of view but hindsight is a wonderful thing and at the time we were
acting on what was considered to be the best advice."
- Yesterday it was revealed the NHS was considering banning
anyone who has received blood transfusions from giving blood themselves
amid rising concerns that they may knowingly pass on the fatal human variant
- Such a move could cut Britain's 1.9 million volunteer
donors by up to 10pc and create such huge shortages that transfusion services
would struggle to meet demand.
- A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "The
whole issue of cleanliness of blood is under review.
- "The eligibility of patients who have received blood
transfusions is just part of that."
- One of the main criticisms to come out of the recent
BSE inquiry was that information was kept from the public in a bid to prevent
- Dr Peter Hamilton, haemophilia centre director at Newcastle's
Royal Victoria Infirmary, said: "It seems to me that perhaps they
should not have made this recommendation. It is our view patients should
be told everything relating to their treatment and how it may affect them."
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