Day 8 – Infected Blood Inquiry Hearings – (10th May 2019 London)
The three witnesses today were as always, given as much space and time as they needed and had the opportunity to chart their journey in great detail from the very start until the present.
The overriding impression was that of hearing from people who had suffered greatly and whose lives had been blighted by catching hepatitis C in this way. We were again moved by everything that was said, most of all by everything that Witness 2 related, including having a request for an orthopaedic bed turned down, being persecuted by neighbours or perhaps someone from Royal Mail who had intercepted and read her letters. Having to be on benefits and feeling like she was treated as a beggar with a begging bowl by the blood support schemes.
The worst was when she described how she lost weight and became a six stone skeleton, but still had her lovely long hair. Then she lost all of that… and that made her feel as if there was nothing of herself left at all, that she had disappeared as a person. She admitted how silly it could sound to be so concerned about having a head of hair, but it was far from silly, it was completely tragic and heartbreaking.
The other overwhelming fact that appeared clearly today, was the disgraceful financial situation, with none of the three saying that they felt they had any security for the long-term, and how shocking it is that compensation should not be given as a matter of course, with no ifs or buts and no dreadful bureaucracy.
They each expressed satisfaction that the Inquiry was taking place at long last and of course the hope and desire that justice would be done at last and the extent of any cover up will be exposed.