Beds, Herts & Bucks

Tainted blood case at High Court

A woman who was infected with hepatitis C after a blood transfusion more than 20 years ago has begun a High Court bid for compensation.

Sharon Moore, 50, from Dunstable in Bedfordshire, was among thousands accidentally given contaminated NHS blood supplies in the mid-1980s.

She received the transfusion at Luton and Dunstable Hospital in June 1987.

Her earlier claims were rejected by the Skipton Fund, which administers the government's compensation scheme.

'Liver cancer'

Almost 11 years after the blood transfusion, the National Blood Service wrote to her GP and Ms Moore was told that she may have been infected with hepatitis C.

Her lawyers said she underwent tests and had to wait six weeks before being told the virus had cleared her system naturally at some point since 1987.

However she was warned there was an increased risk of developing liver cancer and variant CJD because of the contaminated blood.

Two earlier compensation claims were rejected on the grounds that she could not prove the hepatitis virus was in her system for more than six months.

A third claim was rejected in May 2009 by the fund's appeal panel.

Medical history

Her lawyers said the rejection was despite new evidence from a leading hepatitis C expert that there was no way she could have known when the virus was "spontaneously cleared" from her body.

Her legal team will ask Mr Justice Kenneth Parker to quash the Skipton Fund criterion requiring applicants to prove persistence of infection beyond six months in order to qualify for compensation.

Ms Moore said she had been turned down for a job with the police due to her hepatitis C infection.

She believes that because she now has to disclose her medical history on applications for insurance, she has been disadvantaged.

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