Published: 00:01, 14 July 2017 |
Updated: 07:31, 14 July 2017
A man from Ashford is fighting for justice for his father, who died from after being treated with contaminated blood.
Tim Wratten’s father - Peter Wratten - was a haemophiliac who was infected with hepatitis C in about 1984.
He was suffering from a bleed in his stomach and was injected with Factor VIII to treat it.
However the injection was contaminated - like so many during that period.
It wasn’t until 20 years later, in 2001, that Peter Wratten found out he had been infected.
His son Tim said: “I found out about dad when I was 16. The Department of Health wrote to everyone and dad received a letter saying he was at risk of hepatitis C.
“We just thought it was normal as kids, until dad got the letter.
“It answers a lot of questions about the way he was, the virus was doing things to him that he didn’t know about.
“Within 10 years of finding out he had been infected, my dad was dead,” said Tim.
“The toxins from his liver were going to his brain and it started going downhill very quickly, he became incontinent.
“He had a fall and from that it progressed really quickly. He was just bleeding everywhere on the inside, the nurse showed me a scan, there was so much blood.”
Peter Wratten died in 2011 at the age of 54.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the only tragedy for the family.
Peter’s brothers were also haemophiliacs and had been infected around the same time period. They all died within months of each other.
Now Tim is fighting for justice for his family, against those responsible for the scandal.
"I looked up to my dad... the day he died I felt like part of me was gone. Every day is hard" - Tim Wratten
“I looked up to my dad. The day he died I felt like part of me was gone. Every day is hard. I’ve got 12 years of doctors’ notes for my dad but the others have all disappeared.
“For the last two years I’ve been pushing really hard to get justice. It’s not about the money. I just want the documents and the truth.
“I have so many unanswered questions that need to be answered to bring closure.
“No one can replace what’s happened. I’d rather have no money at all. I just want my dad back.”
The government has launched an inquiry into the scandal in order to finally bring justice to the thousands of people who were infected.
A Department of Health spokesman said: “We know this tragedy has caused unimaginable hardship and pain for those affected and so have increased annual spend on payments to record levels since 2015, committing an additional £125 million in funding for support.
“We have also published all the information we hold on blood safety from the period 1970 until 1995 because we want to be fully transparent.
"We would happily look at additional sources of information or evidence going forward.”
The NHS contaminated blood scandal refers to a period in the 1970s and 80s, where more than 4,500 people were infected with hepatitis C or HIV, and 2,400 people who were infected have now died.
The blood was imported cheaply from America as part of an injection for people with haemophilia – Factor VIII – however many of the paid blood donors were actually injecting drug users and prison inmates meaning the blood was contaminated.
Thousands of people weren’t aware they had been contaminated which meant hundreds of people were co-infected by unknowing family members.
Until recently, there hasn’t been an official inquiry into the scandal and nobody has ever been held liable.
Haemophilia is a condition where people are unable to clot their blood, which can result in internal bleeding into joints and muscles, and in more dangerous cases, into internal organs.
They often suffer with severe pain and it can even lead to organ damage.
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