‘My family was destroyed’: relatives of blood scandal victims get nothing | Contaminated blood scandal

With the news that thousands of the parents and children of the victims of the blood scandals are not receiving anything in interim payments from the state, we investigate some of the cases.

Tony Farrugia, 50

Barry Farrugia died in 1986 after contracting HIV and hepatitis C from contaminated blood products

Tony Farrugia, whose father, Barry, died of HIV and hepatitis C in 1986 after being treated for hemophilia with contaminated blood products, is one of thousands of family members still waiting for compensation.

“This announcement is another slap in the face because while they recognize some families, they don’t recognize others who have suffered the same fate. This is the cheapest option. There are at least 2,000 families who have been completely excluded – the government has just blanked us. The message to children and parents is that we don’t matter.”

Farrugia, who now lives in St Neots, was placed in care as a child and separated from her brothers when her father suffered from HIV-related dementia before his death. “My family was devastated by this. I didn’t see my twin brother again until I was 18, I didn’t see my other three brothers until 2010. It’s almost like we were washed away as a family, so we couldn’t talk.”

In March, a review by Sir Robert Francis recommended the government implement a full compensation framework for victims and their families. Farrugia said: “It is time for the government to implement this report in full. To not follow all the recommendations is to deny the victims justice.”

Emma Frame, 49

Emma Frame and her father Jeffrey who died in 1991 of HIV and hepatitis C after receiving contaminated blood products
Emma Frame and her father, Jeffrey, who died in 1991 of HIV and hepatitis C after receiving contaminated blood products.

Emma Frame, from Newcastle, was 18 when she lost her father, Jeffrey, to HIV and hepatitis C. She said: “It is important that interim payments are made as soon as possible to those infected who are still suffering.”

But she added: “The government is trying to make this look good, but none of it is good. Everyone who is affected should be included in the scheme. It’s not about money. I’m fighting for someone to admit that my dad should still be here.

“I was 11 when I was told my dad had a disease no one wanted to talk about, as leaflets went through doors telling us how terrible it was going to be. It was horrible. I have struggled with mental health problems all my life. And it affects generations – my son Charlie is angry that he can only see his grandfather in pictures.”

She added: “The government needs to admit that this was preventable and compensate people for lives that have been stolen from them.”

Rosemary Calder, 74

Rosemary Calder and her son Nicholas who died of HIV in 1999 after being treated with contaminated blood products
Rosemary Calder and her son Nicholas, who died of HIV in 1999 after being treated with contaminated blood products.

Rosemary Calder, from Northamptonshire, is worried she may never receive compensation for the death of her son Nicholas in 1999 after he contracted HIV.

Calder, who runs a support group for parents left behind in the scandal, said: “I would like to think we will get compensation but none of us are getting any younger.

“There’s a lot of anxiety and stress amongst parents that’s just constantly being overlooked. I’ve missed Nicky being a part of my life. I’ve missed his love and friendship. No amount of money can buy that. But paying compensation is the only way the government can show any kind of remorse.”

She said Nicholas’ death had a “massive impact” on her family. It led to the breakdown of her marriage, while her second son is still in survivor’s counseling and her daughter can’t talk about Nicholas without crying.

Jason Evans, 32

Jason Evans, whose father died after receiving contaminated blood
Jason Evans, whose father died after receiving contaminated blood.

Jason Evans, whose father, Jonathan, died in 1993 after receiving an untreated blood product known as factor VIII, is a co-founder of the campaign group Factor 8. He is also the lead plaintiff in a high court case seeking damages, which is pending until the inquiry is concluded.

He said: “Many of us have a fear that the government is dragging its feet over a more comprehensive compensation scheme. Some welcome the money but others are frankly embarrassed by it. It creates division which will only get worse if half of the bereaved families don’t get help.”

Figures Evans obtained in a freedom of information request showed that of the 1,243 haemophiliacs who contracted HIV in England as a result of the scandal, only 229 survivors are currently receiving support. They show that 228 bereaved partners are supported, but 798 families of those who died of HIV via contaminated blood have not received support.

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