Belfast Telegraph

Anger of contaminated blood Northern Ireland man told childhood records destroyed

By Allan Preston

A man due to give evidence to the Contaminated Blood Inquiry said he left "traumatised" after being told some crucial medical records have been destroyed.

Nigel Hamilton and his twin brother Simon (58) both suffer from haemophilia and contracted Hepatitis C after receiving infected blood transfusions.

Mr Hamilton was infected when he was 14, after an eye operation, but wasn't informed he had Hepatitis until he was in his 30s.

Ahead of giving evidence at the inquiry in London he asked the Belfast Health Trust for his records.

But he received a letter to say his childhood records had been destroyed.

"It made me feel very angry and traumatised," he said.

"As a witness, it's very important that I'm able to give corroborative, historical evidence."

He said the documents were the most important of all as they cover the specific period during which he was infected.

"They told me they cannot find on the file anything regarding my childhood," he said.

"I know I was contaminated when I was 14. A consultant showed me the records in the late 1990s when I was around 36 and confirmed it happened during my eye operation.

"She could even tell me the batch number I was infected with. I felt they were rather flippant with me at the time and wouldn't say why they waited so long to tell me."

The Belfast Health Trust said yesterday: "We apologise for any distress this has caused Mr Hamilton.

"We understand that there was some confusion about what records were available and we are currently compiling records for him."

It added: "A member of Belfast Trust staff has spoken to Mr Hamilton to apologise for the confusion and will contact him directly to provide him with his record."

Mr Hamilton responded: "I told them I didn't want an apology, just my records and to make sure a letter like this didn't go out to anyone else.

"What if it had been someone who had requested the medical records of their deceased? How would that impact them?

"I want to know why my childhood records were destroyed as well, it's extremely distressing."

Over 2,400 people died after receiving contaminated transfusions in the 1970s and 1980s that were infected with Hepatitis C and HIV.

Along with hundreds of other victims around the UK still suffering from ill health, the brothers are intending to submit evidence to the London inquiry.

Mr Hamilton was diagnosed with cancer in December but is now recovering well after a liver transplant in February.

His twin Simon is chair of Haemophilia NI and contracted Hepatitis C from a transfusion he received after a car accident. Although he recovered from this, he lives with liver cirrhosis and must be tested every six months in case he develops cancer.

Belfast Telegraph

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