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A Drug To Treat Hemophilia Was Polluted With Hepatitis Viruses And HIV

Posted Oct 19 2010 5:30pm

This is the story of a boy who had hemophilia, a bleeding disorder that resulted in pain, disability and death before adulthood. A new medicine was developed which brought an end to suffering and increased longevity in persons with hemophilia.  The effect of the new medicine was like magic. It was a remarkable revolutionary advancement in the treatment of hemophilia, a medical disorder that had caused suffering for many previous centuries.

The medicine was manufactured from the plasma of paid blood donors.  Unexpectedly, a dark cloud descended when persons infusing the medicine became ill. It was discovered that the new medicine was polluted with hepatitis viruses and HIV.  By the time of discovery it was too late to prevent infection. The boy and 10,000 others in the USA became infected with HIV the virus that causes AIDS. He died from AIDS at age seventeen rather than have a prolonged life that was intended with the new medicine.  The medicine was sold to other countries resulting in thousands of deaths from AIDS all over the world.

In addition to the boy, others like him that received medical care at the same clinic he attended also became infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses. One hundred persons at the treatment center where he received his care died from AIDS or liver failure. A dozen other families who lost a son or father or husband were contacted or interviewed in their homes and asked if they blamed the doctors who prescribed the medicine that resulted in death. Doctors are supposed to provide treatment without causing harm to their patients. The doctors didn’t know that HIV, a new virus that causes AIDS, existed. But could they have known or should they have known?  Do the families view the doctors as guilty of causing harm and death?

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