The infected blood scandal
Science Editor Imogen Poyntz-Wright discusses the NHS infected blood scandal.
One of the worst treatment disasters in the history of the NHS was likely the infected blood scandal. The scandal involved patients receiving blood contaminated with HIV, hepatitis C or both, for treatment of haemophilia in 1970s and 80s. Over 3,500 patients were affected and more than 1,500 died. In total through, blood transfusions for all needs including childbirth and surgery, resulted in over 30,000 people being affected by HIV, Hepatitis C or other bleeding disorders. This number of people is significant and the compensation for such a permeant alteration to people’s lives was not accounted for.
However, now 40 years after the incident occurred 4000 people will have received compensation of £100,000 by the end of October 2022. Whether this is enough or not, is still being debated.
4000 people will have received compensation of £100,000
Yet, a just as important note is since the 1970/80s the UK, more specifically the NHS, has taken steps to prevent the transfer of any diseases from one patient to another through blood transfusions. Individuals who are positive for diseases such as HIV are prohibited from donating blood, ensuring blood is safe to give patients. In addition all blood is screened for HIV, Hepatitis and other diseases such as syphilis. This is especially important when considering the use of blood transfusions for patients who are potentially immune-deficient.