I was born in 1984. Due to a premature birth, and subsequent complications, I underwent various substantial operations before I was one year old. As these procedures are likely to have included blood transfusions I am unable to give blood. Sitting on the train back home today I sat opposite someone who was the reason why.
My fellow commuter, sat in his wheelchair, had come fresh from parliament. He, and his assistant (suspect it was his mum!) had been lobbying their MP to support the Contaminated Blood (Support for Infected and Bereaved Persons) Bill. (For background see here) This Bill aims to establish suitable compensation and long-term medical support for individuals who have contracted haemophilia, hepatitis B, or C, human immunodeficiency virus, human T-lymphotropic virus, syphilis and/or variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease as a result of blood transfusions.
He described his situation as ‘living with a time bomb’. He contracted a disease that will slowly degenerate his body, leaving others with nothing left to do but countdown to death. This was delivered to him in the form of a blood transfusion, intending to help him.
As a mature society we have a duty of care. We have a duty of care to provide all the medical support we can to enable our citizens to live life in all its fullness. I’m happy to not be able to donate blood until screening is able to truly declare my blood safe*. However when, in the case of the diseases listed above, acts carried out in good faith (ie the blood transfusions) have lead to the individual being delivered a life sentence, rather than enhancement, I think it is up-to all of us to lobby and ensure they are given suitable support.
Take Action: Lobby your MP to
a) Vote for the Private Members Bill this Friday
b) Sign upto the Early Day Motion Number on the issue
Contact your MP using WriteToThem