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Haemophilia Holocaust by Richard Davis MBBS, FFARACS, FANZCA, CF

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Preface “This event (Australia's tainted blood supply) is the greatest single tragedy in the history of the Australian Health Service. People receiving a life-saving treatment have been inflected with a life-taking virus. Governments normally step in on occasions of disaster Not so this tirne.” — Mrs. jenny Ross, Chair Australian Haemophilia Foundation from a letter to Health Minister Blewett, March 1989. For many years, the author has been troubled that in 1984 a friend was unnecessarily given a Factor IX concentrate transfusion to treat haemophilia B (‘Christmas Disease’ or ‘Royal Disease’). The transfusion was infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and she died an horrific death from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Her family suffered terribly. Why would a woman who was only a carrier ofthe Factor IX gene (not a haemophiliac), and who had given birth to three children, who rode horses and led an active life, be given a dangerous Factor IX concentrate transfusion? Since December I982, throughout the world, haematologists had stressed that Factor VIII and Factor IX, which had been manufactured from thousands of donors, were potentially dangerous and should only be used to manage serious bleeding Problems 25.3-L6-i,65.74.79,81,84,!15,l2U,l36.1$8 Ihe author is also troubled that, despite his pleading for autologous blood services during the 19705, ’8Os and ’9Os, the Australian Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service (ARCBTS) failed to introduce autologous (self-donated) blood donation programs. F1'0m the late 19705, autologous blood programs were being introduced throughout thfi developed world. From January 1983, Americas blood banks, including the American Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service, were recommending pre-donated autologous blood for elective surgery. Autologous blood salvaging machines had been dfiveloped, which allowed autologous blood to be used for both elective and emergency surgery. Some Australian autologous blood programs were started. However, the author believes the unnecessary use of Red Cross homologous blood during thix period must have contributed to Australia’s contaminated blood disaster. Every developed nation, except Australia, has held major reviews of their nationk tainted blood disasters and concluded that they had been entirely predictable and that most patients should not have been given any blood products in the first plaet; In Australia, some reviews, even a Senate review of Hepatitis C and the blood supply, have been held. However, the disaster was and continues to be so horrendous, as more victims die, that a Senate review or a Royal Commission should have been held decades ago. In 2019, the Author published the book [nficted Blood Products." Australzlzk Greatest Medical Disaster. Haemop/Jilia Holocaust is an expanded, updated volume dealing with the same infected blood issues. For some readers, the history ofthis tragedy will bring back appalling memories. The author apologises, but feels someone should document this terrible medical disaster.

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