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Contaminated blood victim calls for prosecution of those responsible for ‘historic and horrific tragedy’

PUBLISHED: 13:38 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:38 25 September 2018

Michelle Tolley had blood transfusions twice when she was pregnant in the 1980s and got diabetes by the 1990s. 
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Michelle Tolley had blood transfusions twice when she was pregnant in the 1980s and got diabetes by the 1990s. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

A Norfolk victim of the contaminated blood scandal has called for the identification and prosecution of those responsible at the inquiry.

Michelle Tolley, 53 and from Sparham, was one of thousands of people in the 1970s and 1980s who were given blood products infected with hepatitis viruses and HIV.

The inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal, which left at least 2,400 people dead, began on Monday.

Mrs Tolley, leader of support group Contaminated Whole Blood UK, had two blood transfusions in September 1987 and February 1991 after childbirth.

The mother-of-four said she went to her GP at the time with concerns about feeling extreme fatigue after seeing a campaign on the television about contaminated blood. She said the GP told her: “Of course you are, you have four children, what do you expect?”

Mrs Tolley said she then described her concerns about what she had seen on the television advert, to which the GP replied: “Don’t be silly, of course you don’t have that.”

Mrs Tolley said: “When you’re a young mum responsible for four children, you look at your health professional with trust that they are telling you the truth, and I jollied along on my way, still very tired.

“Apparently there was a look back exercise to try and identify those who may have been infected. Well they didn’t look very far did they, as there are so many of us infected victims who still do not know today that they have been given a death sentence without even committing a crime.”

Mrs Tolley was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 2015 by chance, and with a new GP.

She said: “The impact on our lives has been one of devastation, destruction, and ultimately death.

“The ripple effect from innocent victims affected victims has seen children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, mothers, fathers, wives, grandparents, in fact in some cases a complete generation lost.

“Of course this wasn’t only whole blood, there were blood products. What was the cause of this bloody mess?

“Blood products, including factor eight and factor nine, were also responsible for not only Hepatitis C, but Hepatitis B, HIV and other pathogens which killed thousands of innocent lives.

“Those responsible for this historic and horrific tragedy which has lasted decades, must be identified.

“They must be held responsible for the consequences of their actions and prosecuted if necessary.”

Mrs Tolley also thanked her husband, family and various support groups for their support.

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