Advising with empathy and experience

Contaminated blood inquiry - tragic death of child.


The parents of a 10-year-old who died in 1992 after contracting HIV through contaminated blood products have told an inquiry that the government had known that blood products had been contaminated but had "done nothing.”

Colin and Denise Turton told the Infected Blood Inquiry their son Lee had been diagnosed with haemophilia soon after his birth in 1981 and had been given blood products to manage the condition. They said that they were told in 1985 that Lee had contracted HIV.

Mrs Turton told the inquiry: "The pain of reliving what happened to Lee is nothing compared to the pain and suffering that he had in his short life. We lost our beautiful son and brother, as so many parents did.

"The government knew the Factor VIII being used was infected, as did the pharmaceutical companies, and did nothing."

After Lee died, the family said they discovered he had also contracted hepatitis C, the inquiry heard.

Mrs Turton said the family had decided to move to Cornwall after it was leaked to the press and his school that Lee had HIV.

She said that parents had not wanted her son at the school and one teacher had said they would not teach Lee and her son was left isolated.

She added: "He wasn’t invited to friends, he wasn’t invited to parties, which was very hard not only for him but for his sister, so we decided to move from the area to look after him the best we could without anybody knowing who he was."

The couple said their son had been a "happy little boy", and Mr Turton added: "He was a bright, intelligent child, always joking."

But the inquiry heard that from around 1988 Lee’s health began to worsen.

Mrs Turton said: "He couldn’t walk far, he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t eat, he was eventually fed through a tube. It was just infection after infection, we spent most of the time in and out of hospital with him."

Mrs Turton added that in January 1992 they had found Lee on the bathroom floor having a fit and he was rushed to hospital.

The family were told Lee had between two and 10 days to live and he died eight days later on January 22, 1992.

Mrs Turton said: "They said he had an infection on the brain, so we insisted he went home that day because that’s what he wanted to do, he kept asking, so we took him home and he died eight days later.”

The contaminated blood scandal has been called the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS. Thousands of patients were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s. Around 2,400 people died.