Beds, Herts & Bucks

No compensation for hepatitis C blood transfusion woman

A woman who was infected with hepatitis C during a blood transfusion more than 20 years ago has lost 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.

The court said she could not prove she was infected for more than six months, which is required to trigger payment.

Ms Moore, who was 26 at the time of the transfusion, discovered her blood was infected with Hepatitis C in 1998 - nearly 11 years later.

Disclose medical history

Tests showed the virus had cleared her system naturally, but she is at increased risk of diseases including liver cancer.

The Hepatitis C Trust believes about half a million people in the UK have hepatitis C, with around 5,000-6,000 of them infected through contaminated blood.

Two earlier compensation claims were rejected by the Skipton Fund, which administers the government's compensation scheme, on the grounds that Ms Moore 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.

Mr Justice Kenneth Parker said: "I have found the scheme is rational and lawful and that the burden on the applicant (Ms Moore) to show that she fell within the particular category of ex gratia compensation scheme was reasonable in the circumstances."

It was "no more than common sense" she would have cleared the virus under the six month period, he added.

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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