Lindsay Tribunal : The Cuts That Killed

The Lindsay Tribunal has finished its work. It found nobody in particular was responsible for 79 deaths. It was as though the mothers needing anti-D injections, haemophiliacs, and patients receiving transfusions just don't matter.

Contaminated blood products infected at least 104 people with AIDS, at least 217 with Hepatitis C, and 69 people with both. So far 79 haemophiliacs have died.

This happened during the last round of Fianna Fail health cuts. A deliberate decision was made that it was acceptable to risk killing patients in order to save a few bob. Properly screened blood products were more expensive. So, the BTSB didn't recall products which they know to be potentially deadly, and treated the victims with appalling callousness.

Professor Ian Temperley, Director of the National Haemophilia Treatment Centre from 1971-1995 wrote to the Blood Transfusion Supply Board: "The board should understand that in the present period of financial stringency the hospitals could not be expected to meet a doubling of the cost of concentrates in 1989. Some balance will have to be struck between cost and the infection dangers associated with blood products"

Judge Lindsay said she did not think it would be appropriate to send a copy of her report to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Of course if it had happened to patients in the Mater Private or the Blackrock Clinic it might have been a different story.

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This edition is No72 published in September 2002