During the 1970s and 1980s, the United Kingdom was shaken by a scandal where thousands of patients received transfusions with contaminated blood and died. On Tuesday, Theresa May, UK’s prime minister, ordered the reopening of the investigations on the case.
- Theresa May reopened the investigation on the contaminated blood scandal.
- 2,400 people died after receiving blood transfusions infected with HIV or hepatitis C.
- Authorities think there was a massive cover-up and want to discover what had actually happened.
Back then, blood tainted with hepatitis C or HIV reached several public health units. Over 2,400 people received transfusions with the contaminated blood, and most of them died. Then, a massive scandal broke out and authorities started investigating in the matter. Now, they think there’s still much more to find out, and decided to reopen the inquiries.
May wants to settle the matter, and find out how such an event could have happened. She thinks the families of the contaminated blood victims deserve some answers, and those who were responsible should pay. The decision to reopen the case was taken after the leaders of six parties sent a letter to the government and asked for a new investigation.
Diana Johnson, the leader of the Labour Party, said this was the worst disaster which had ever occurred in the history of public health. There is a clear need for answers, so all possibilities must be taken into account. So far, authorities didn’t consider the hypothesis of a criminal action, which is quite plausible.
The contaminated blood supplies came from Factor VIII, a clotting agent which imported blood from the USA. Many of these supplies were infected, while others came from American inmates who received money to donate blood.
Many victims received blood infected with hepatitis C, and 1,200 of them received HIV-tainted blood. Less than 250 victims are still alive today. There was a case of a massive cover-up, with altered samples and results still not made public.
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