Health

Patients were used by doctors as guinea pigs for infected blood while having dental care 

Doctors tested potentially contaminated blood on mild haemophiliacs in the 1970s to find out if products were infected with hepatitis, an inquiry heard yesterday.

Patients having dental care were targeted for a ‘study’ into the risks of clotting products, the Infected Blood Inquiry was told. 

A leading virologist at the Public Health Laboratory Service wrote to a consultant running an NHS clinic at a Hampshire school for disabled children about experimenting with products.

The inquiry is probing how thousands of people were infected with HIV and hepatitis after receiving blood transfusions in the 1970s and 80s (file photo) 

He said the study was already running and encouraged the use of potentially contaminated batches during dental care.

However, the consultant replied that he would not adopt the absurd policy and put patients at risk. 

The policy would only have applied to out-patients using the clinic at Lord Mayor Treloar College rather than boys boarding there.

The Infected Blood Inquiry is investigating how thousands of people were infected with HIV and hepatitis after receiving blood transfusions in the 1970s and 80s. 

At least 72 former pupils at Lord Mayor Treloar College died as a result of contracting hepatitis and HIV after receiving NHS treatment. 

At least 72 former pupils at Lord Mayor Treloar College (pictured) died as a result of contracting hepatitis and HIV after receiving NHS treatment 

In a letter dated May 1979, Dr John Craske said the study had been running for a year and he had not received any notification of patients being infected by a batch of ‘Factor VIII’.

He asked the consultant at Lord Mayor Treloar College in Hampshire to test the products on ‘mild haemophiliacs’ coming in for ‘non-urgent operations such as tooth extraction’.

He wrote: ‘We have found from observations at Oxford this is the best way of finding out whether the material is associated with cases of hepatitis as most patients treated under these circumstances will be susceptible to non-A, non-B viruses in the transfused material.’ 

His suggestion was rejected by the consultant called Dr Aronstam who wrote to say he would not adopt the absurd policy and put patients at unnecessary risks. 

He replied: ‘I totally disagree with this concept. I do not wish any of my mild haemophiliacs to develop hepatitis in any form.’ He said he had instead treated them with a safer alternative.

The policy would only have applied to out-patients using the school’s clinic rather than boys boarding at the college who mainly suffered from severe haemophilia.  

Separate correspondence revealed these children were part of a hepatitis study to trace who developed infections during the tainted blood scandal.

Letters dating back to 1975 have revealed some of the children had been selected for a ‘survey’ and monitored to see if they contracted hepatitis. 

Former pupil Nick Sainsbury (pictured) was among those chosen to take part and doctors wrote to his parents to inform them

Former pupil Nick Sainsbury was among those chosen to take part and doctors wrote to his parents to inform them.

The letter said the then 12-year-old would be limited to a certain type of Factor VIII product when treating his haemophilia to make it ‘easier to trace the source should he contract hepatitis’. 

Another internal letter in 1976 reported that Mr Sainsbury and some of the other children involved had reacted badly to new products.

Mr Sainsbury went on to be infected with the disease as well as HIV. He told the inquiry earlier this week: ‘We were ill because of a treatment which was supposed to enhance our lives, but it was killing us.’

The hearing continues.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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