05 August 2005

Hepatitis C victims get belated apology -

Irish Independent

THE Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) yesterday apologised, after more than 12 years, to 33 blood donors who tested positive for Hepatitis C, but weren't informed of the diagnosis.

The donors at the Cork IBTS centre were not told they were positive for several years in the early 1990s.

The matter first came to light in 1996, at the time of the Finlay Tribunal into the infection of people with Hepatitis C through contaminated products supplied by the IBTS.

In a statement yesterday the IBTS said it was deeply sorry for not informing the donors that they had the illness as early as possible.

It said it would be contacting each donor individually over the coming week to pass on the apology.

An independent report published earlier this year criticised the IBTS over the delay, saying it was misconceived and inadequate.

Hepatitis C screening was introduced at the Dublin and Cork centres in October 1991. All donors who tested positive for the illness in Dublin were notified from the start of 1992 - a measure not implemented in Cork until November 1993.

Eilish O'Regan

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