Lincolnshire infected blood scandal victim feels ‘great relief’ after damning inquiry report

A Lincolnshire man who was a victim of the infected blood scandal hopes to “draw a line” under the situation and “move on” with his life after a damning inquiry report was published. Jonathan Colam-French from Hagworthingham, near Spilsby, was infected with hepatitis C after being given an infected Factor VIII blood clotting product when he was just 11 years old.

Mr Colam-French has mild haemophilia, which means his ability for blood to clot is severely reduced due to a lack of Factor VIII, causing severe bleeding from even a slight injury. The 53-year-old is one of more than 30,000 people who were infected with HIV and hepatitis C from 1970 to 1991 by contaminated blood products and transfusions.

Chairman of the Infected Blood Inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff, delivered his findings on Monday, May 20 in a report which gathered evidence between 2019 and 2023. The report found that the disaster should have been largely avoided and patients were knowingly exposed to “unacceptable risks”. It also accuses doctors, the government and NHS of trying to cover-up what happened.

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Mr Colam-French was first given Factor VIII alongside Cryoprecipitate in 1982 at Lincoln hospital when he suffered damage to ligaments in his foot. However, his medical records state that he received Factor VIII for a bruised finger in the same year which he says is “completely bonkers”. The treatment infected Mr Colam-French with hepatitis C.

He said: “I’m absolutely convinced that I was part of a series of experiments that were going on at the time on people with haemophilia. One of the things that the inquiry has concluded is that these sorts of experiments were going on.”

Mr Colam-French was tested for hepatitis when just 11 years old but says he wasn't given his results until 20 years later
Mr Colam-French was tested for hepatitis when just 11 years old but says he wasn’t given his results until 20 years later

Mr Colam-French had been living with hepatitis C for 20 years before any doctor informed him that he had it, despite having a test for it when he was 11. He added: “You sound paranoid when you say a doctor deliberately infected you with hepatitis C at 11 years old and deleted the records to cover it up.

“It makes you sound like you should be on The X Files but the report is a complete vindication of all the things people have been saying went on. Hearing from people who had the same experience makes you realise you’re not alone.

“About 16 years ago, I packed it away and decided I was going to move on and live my life. For the last six years I’ve had to relive what was the most traumatic period of my entire life.

“The report coming out brings a very great sense of relief that it’s a complete vindication of what we’ve been saying all along. Also, that there is a potential to draw a line under this again, move on and start trying to live a normal life where you’re not thinking about it.”

Interim payouts of £100,000 each have already been made to about 4,000 survivors and ministers will address the issue of final compensation in due course. Mr Colam-French says he received an interim payment around 18 months ago and has a “strong expectation” that he’ll be eligible for further compensation.

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