Northern Ireland mum's anger after medics failed to inform 'action man' husband of blood infection
An angry wife has told an inquiry that medics' failure to inform her husband for five years that he had come into contact with hepatitis C through contaminated blood products had risked passing the infection on to their youngest child.
Trevor Marsden, from Northern Ireland, said he received blood products from the mid-1970s to treat his haemophilia and in 1996 he was told that he had contracted the virus.
But the Infected Blood Inquiry heard that tests had shown he had come into contact with the virus as early as 1991 but had not been told because it might cause "undue anxiety and worry".
In a statement read to the inquiry, Dr Elizabeth Mayne said tests for the "active infection" were not available until 1993 and in 1991 they could only detect the hepatitis C antibody.
She added: "The test in 1991 demonstrated that the patient (Mr Marsden) had met the hepatitis C virus at some time.
"It showed that he had the antibody but not active infection at the time of testing.
"He was clinically well therefore he was not informed about this particular result. It was thought it might cause undue anxiety and worry.
"At that time it was unclear what the future would hold for someone with such a result."
But Mr Marsden's wife Louise told the inquiry that she was angry they had not been told at the time because they could have passed the virus on to their son Sam, who was born the following year.
The 58-year-old mother-of-four added: "This makes me very, very angry.
"What angers me more is, and I know having been tested I was not positive with hepatitis C, Sam was born in January 1992, she (Dr Mayne) knew in 1991 definitively from the records I could have been positive and I could have passed that on to our son."
Mrs Marsden said all her husband's health problems stemmed from contaminated blood products.
She added: "Trevor's health, what he experiences now, all of the difficulties, flow from having received contaminated blood."
The couple, who live on a farm near Ballycarry, said that they later discovered that Mr Marsden had also received batches of products from donors identified as having died of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).
They said the fear that 59-year-old Mr Marsden would develop the fatal vCJD was a "sword of Damocles" over their head.
Mrs Marsden said: "Using one of Trevor's terms, just when you thought it was safe to get out of the bath you know they had given you something else."
Mr Marsden added: "I felt there was a red dot on me, that they were out to get me."
Mrs Marsden described her husband as an "action man" and added: "I married an action man, Trevor rode horses, he worked on a farm - one of the most dangerous occupations you can have.
"He rode motorbikes, he raced motorbikes, he wanted to live life just like any other person."
But she told the inquiry the hepatitis C and treatment for it took Trevor from "hero to zero" and he had self-harmed and felt suicidal.
She added: "As our son Sam put it, Trevor went from hero to zero in a very short period of time.
"It was harder for Trevor to cope with his morbidity than his mortality and that's why I believe he was suicidal.
"For him it was better to shuffle off this mortal coil than to live his life the way he was."
The contaminated blood scandal has been labelled the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.
Thousands of patients were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s. Around 2,400 people died.
Belfast Telegraph Digital