Blood scandal inquiry urged to `look into Department of…

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Authorities were “engaged in a complicity of silence”, the mother of one of the victims of the infected blood scandal has said.

Della Hirsch, whose 35-year-old son Nick died having contracted hepatitis C as a result of his haemophilia treatment, said: “Science screwed us.”

Giving evidence to the Infected Blood Inquiry, Ms Hirsch said medical professionals and the government did not voice their concerns about the possibility of contaminated blood used to treat patients in the 1970s and 1980s.

“So many medical professionals did not share their suspicions, and at the same time made it impossible to ask questions or raise doubts,” she said.

“Science screwed us.”

Ms Hirsch, whose son was diagnosed with haemophilia shortly after his birth in 1976, was giving evidence to a public inquiry considering the treatment of thousands of people in the 1970s and 1980s who were given blood products infected with hepatitis viruses and HIV, and the impact this has had.

The inquiry has heard the number of infected could go “far beyond 25,000”.

Ms Hirsch said she believed “both medical professionals and others including the Department of Health involved in blood products, were engaged in a complicity of silence” about the possibility of infection.

She said she hoped the investigation would “look into the Department of Health’s dark corners”.

Ms Hirsch also told the inquiry about the impact her son’s care had had on her family.

“The misery and appalling lack of care” from medical professionals “can never be overstated”, she said.

As a result of the care, Ms Hirsch said at times she “felt we were to blame”.

She concluded her statement by saying to victims: “This is our inquiry. A chance to ask questions we were not allowed to get out of our mouths.”

The inquiry continues.

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