Transfusion Gave Me
HIV And Hepatitis C
By Louella Houldcroft
A holidaymaker who believes he became infected with HIV and hepatitis C through a single blood transfusion during a visit to Britain has been offered compensation.
Ian Reddie Jr, who suffers from haemophilia, was visiting relatives in Newcastle and Glasgow when he had a blood transfusion at a Scottish hospital.
He has now been promised compensation from the Department of Health after the Glasgow Hospital confirmed Ian, then 13, was given plasma at a time when supplies were infected.
Now he is joining North-East haemophiliacs in their fight for a public inquiry into how bad blood was allowed to be used in hospitals across the UK.
Speaking exclusively to The Journal from the family's New Zealand home, his father, also Ian, said people had been kept in the dark for too long.
"Lives have been destroyed and devastated by this world-wide atrocity and families now need answers as to why it was allowed to happen," he said.
After 20 years of not knowing how his son contracted the two killer viruses, Mr Reddie says he has finally traced the source back to a single blood transfusion at the York Hill Children's Hospital, in Glasgow, in 1980.
It was the only time in his life he received the Factor VIII plasma - imported from America - instead of the safer, if less effective, cryoprecipitate.
This infected plasma, taken from high-risk sources by drug companies in the US, has devastated haemophiliacs across the world, including 4,500 in the UK.
Now 33, Ian has been offered compensation through the MacFarlane Trust, a Government body set up to help sufferers of HIV and Aids. But he has been told he will only be eligible if he agrees to sign a waiver designed to prevent haemophiliacs with HIV bringing further claims for any other blood-borne virus they may contract.
Yesterday, Mr Reddie said they were refusing to sign after The Journal revealed a Newcastle sufferer had just been granted legal aid to sue the Government and overturn the waiver.
In a letter to the Reddies, Ann Hithersay, chief executive of the MacFarlane Trust, said compensation would be "dependent upon his signing an undertaking...that he would not undertake litigation for compensation for hepatitis."
But she admits: "This undertaking is now being challenged and is unlikely to stand up under European law."
Newcastle haemophiliac John (name has been changed), who became infected in the late 70s and watched his brother die from both Aids and hepatitis C in 1985, will be meeting the Reddie family in September.
''The potential risks of hepatitis and HIV were known long before patients were ever told ... I think the people who are living with these diseases every day deserve some answers," he said.

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