Another haemophiliac infected by a contaminated blood product has died. This brings the total number of fatalities to 75. Sixty-two-year-old John Berry, from Athy in County Kildare, contracted Hepatits C when he went into hospital suffering from a nose bleed and was given a contaminated clotting agent. In May of this year, he told the Lindsay Tribunal, which is inquiring into the infection of more than 220 haemophiliacs with Hepatitis C and HIV, that he wanted to find out why he was given the contaminated clotting agent and who was responsible.
When Mr Berry testified at the Lindsay Tribunal on May 8, he said that he felt as if he were on "death row". He told the Tribunal Chairwoman, Judge Alison Lindsay, that he only slept for two hours a night, he could not work and had no social life. Mr Berry said that every time he got a pain, he thought he was going to die.
The Lindsay Tribunal will not, as expected, sit tomorrow following the death of Mr Berry. A Tribunal spokesman said that the hearings will now resume on Wednesday, following a six-week summer adjournment. The hearings, when they do resume, will continue to focus on the actions of the Blood Transfusion Service. However, the Tribunal team may also take the opportunity to outline how it is going to deal with the pharmaceutical companies which made the relevant products but are not yet represented at the Tribunal.
RTÉ News contacted Travenol-Baxer, one of the few companies which supplied clotting agents during the critical period of the early 1980s. They were asked about the efforts it made to ensure that its product was not responsible for the infection of 97 Haemophilia A patients with HIV, a majority of whom have died. The company, which has a base in Ireland, refused to answer any of RTÉ's questions.