Belfast Telegraph

Haemophiliac contaminated with Hepatitis as boy to sue authorities

By Chris McCullough

A man who contracted Hepatitis C after being given contaminated blood is taking legal action against the Government.

Brian Carberry (49), from Downpatrick, received haemophilia treatment as a child in the 1970s.

Haemophilia is a rare inherited bleeding disorder where the blood does not clot normally.

He received blood imported from the United States.

As it turned out, this blood was contaminated resulting in Brian contracting Hepatitis C - something that changed his life forever.

Now he is seeking closure to the many inquiries and promises by the Government to admit responsibility and pay out compensation.

Being infected with Hepatitis C in this manner has also left Brian at high risk of contracting vCJD, the human form of Mad Cow Disease.

He told the Belfast Telegraph he is mostly housebound as he normally feels fatigued and nauseous.

"We call it brain fall," said Brian.

"It means I can forget what I am doing half the time.

"Each day I can feel depressed, very fatigued and nauseous. With this disease I am also more likely to develop liver cirrhosis.

"Walking is very troublesome some days as I have pains in my legs and I had a knee replacement years ago. I really am housebound while my wife is at work.

"I have arthritis in my ankles and when I stand up my bones crush together causing great pain.

"I could choose to have my ankles fused together but that is not a direction I want to go in at the moment.

"I can still drive but I can't really get out of the car and walk anywhere as my joints hurt most of the time."

Just three years ago Brian's health took a further dive when he got TB, but thankfully after a year's treatment he was free from the disease.

He now visits hospital about once a month for health checkups and to stock up on more concentrated blood.

Brian has a 10-year-old son with his wife Caroline and two children from a previous marriage.

He is one of 6,000 people across the UK who became infected with Hepatitis C from contaminated blood which included donations from prisoners who were at risk from the disease as well as HIV.

Another 1,500 people were also infected with HIV.

Brian and the other people infected received £20,000 in 2003.

However, this money does not compensate enough for the cost of the concentrated blood Brian has to administer to himself.

"I have to self-administer 2,000 units of concentrated blood every other day in one five millilitre injection. The costs for this adds up considerably.

"There is supposed to be a consultation in autumn about what will happen next.

"I and the others who got infected through no fault of our own really need closure on this.

"We need the government to stand up and take responsibility for bringing in contaminated blood and ensuring we have the proper care we need to live.

"I receive around £600 per month in incapacity benefits and disability living allowance which goes some way in the costs for my care.

"However, it would be a great deal of relief if this all was sorted out and all the infected people got some closure."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph