“I just want the truth” says St Neots man whose dad died after being given contaminated blood
- Credit: Archant
A St Neots man whose father died from Aids after being given contaminated blood in the 1980s has cautiously welcomed Theresa May’s announcement last week to launch a public inquiry.
Chris Smith, of Eynesbury, was just eight-years-old when his father, Raymond, a haemophiliac, died at the age of 32 after being given a blood product, called Factor VIII, which had been contaminated with the HIV virus.
According to evidence uncovered by campaigners and the BBC’s Panorama programme, prisoners in the USA, many of whom had contracted Hepatitis C and HIV, were paid to donate their blood. It was then used by large pharmaceutical companies to supply blood products to patients.
Chris, a senior manager for an electronics company, is a member of a group called The Fatherless Generation which is in possession of official documents that seem to suggest previous governments were aware of the risks and failed to act.
More than 2,000 people died after receiving contaminated blood and thousands more were infected with the HIV virus and Hepatitis C.
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“It has been said by past governments that they didn’t know the risks and they did everything they could and followed the advice given to them,” said Mr Smith.
“Yet the new information suggests that they had been given warnings as early as 1983 and did not act. It is possible that my father and others would still be alive if the evidence that blood had been contaminated had been available.”
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Mr Smith, a father-of-four, believes that although his father was struggling to cope with the debilitating effects of Hepatitis C, he did not contract HIV until late 1984. His father underwent a routine test for HIV in December, 1984, which was positive, but it was not confirmed until January of the following year and Mr Smith was not told until February.
His wife Wendy was reassured that it would not develop into full-blown Aids, but little more than a year later her husband was dead.
“People have had to fight for more than 30 years,” said Chris.
“This is described as the biggest disaster in NHS history. We did get an apology from David Cameron, but what was he apologising for? We have been failed by all political parties, so it now needs to be done properly.”