Woman given Hepatitis C as a teenager meets blood contamination inquiry experts

Mum Beryl and daughter Suzanne Jones attended the blood inquiry as it visited Norwich. Suzanne found

Mum Beryl and daughter Suzanne Jones attended the blood inquiry as it visited Norwich. Suzanne found out she was infected following a blood transfusion in 1984. Picture: Suzanne Jones - Credit: Archant

A woman who was given Hepatitis C through a contaminated blood transfusion as a teenager has met experts leading a high level inquiry into the scandal.

Described as the worst tragedy in the history of the NHS, thousands of patients were given blood products contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis C in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Infected Blood Inquiry came to Norwich on Thursday to meet those who have been infected or affected, and to update them on the latest ahead of expert witnesses speaking in London later this month.

Among those attending were mother and daughter Beryl and Suzanne Jones, from Caister-on-Sea.

Suzanne contracted Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion after undergoing back surgery for scoliosis as a teenager in 1984.

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It was only after she went to give blood for the first time in 1993 that she received a letter saying she had Hepatitis C.

Over the years, Miss Jones has developed osteoarthritis and suffers from fatigue.

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She said her wish would be for Hepatitis checks to be standard procedure at a GP appointment.

Miss Jones said: "If I hadn't gone to give blood I wouldn't know. I had gone to give something back after having no problems with my back."

Her mother, 84, said: "She hasn't had a normal life.

"I am just hoping to stay alive to see this through. I'm 84 and I can do more than she can.

"People should get compensation. But that was not our first thought, we want to know why and who authorised it."

Some 4,800 people with haemophilia were infected with Hepatitis C or HIV in the 1970s and 1980s. They were given contaminated blood products called Factor VIII or IX.

Among them was Norwich father-of-five Steve Bartram, who contracted Hepatitis C through Factor VIII.

Mr Bartrum said: "I want some answers to what went wrong in the seventies and eighties, if anyone is culpable I want them held to account and I want full compensation for the infected, the affected, the widows and children.

"I have five children and when I am gone I want them to be looked after as that's been taken away from me.

"I gave up my original career. I was worried about infecting my children. It just ruins your life."

From February 24 to 28 the inquiry will begin hearing from expert witnesses.

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