By September 1983, when Bristol’s first hemophiliac died from an AIDS-related illness, the Department of Health had adopted Bloom’s evasive language, saying there was “no underlying conclusive evidence” that AIDS could be transmitted to through blood products.
When Kevin’s health deteriorated, he stopped working and seeing his friends. After people in his neighborhood found out that he had AIDS, they started crossing the street to avoid him. The stigma only worsened when his older brother, Paul, tested positive for HIV, after also being treated with factor VIII. The postman started dropping off the mail at the end of the driveway.
A month after his diagnosis, Paul quit his job in electronics. “He didn’t want to continue,” Lynda Maule, his partner of five years, said in the inquest evidence.
Shortly afterwards, Paul broke up with Maule, who was the mother of his young daughter, and returned to his parents in Cwmbran. Her mother, who worked in a school, had to leave her job to be able to take care of her two children.
In mid-June 1985, Kevin was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and placed in an isolation ward. The staff were reluctant to enter his room, so his family brought him food. They had to feed him themselves, because he was “weak as a kitten.”
Kevin died a week later, on June 23, 1985, at the age of 22. The funeral director was afraid to go into his room to pick up the body for fear of transmission. When he found out that Kevin had died, Paul wanted to flee, but he could barely walk and weighed only 4.7 pounds. He tried to hide how shrunken he had become by wrapping his legs in bandages and putting on layers of sweaters. But on August 4, 1991, Paul also died of AIDS, at the age of 31.
“Paul, Kevin and their parents trusted the medical staff to give them safe medications,” Maule said. “Knowing that such young lives could be lost because of someone else’s mistake was very difficult for everyone.”
In another particularly devastating case, five relatives of the Farrugia family, from Dagenham, east London, contracted Factor VIII virus, four of whom died. Barry Farrugia was the first in the family to contract HIV.
Barry, a North Thames gas board fitter and mild haemophiliac, was treated by Bloom after suffering a bleed in his elbow while on holiday in Wales.
Documents unearthed by his son Tony, and shared for the first time, reveal that in June 1983 Bloom, who died in 1992, wrote a letter to Barry’s doctor in London saying he had been “given a suspicious batch of Factor VIII in 1980.” “.
“I can only assume Bloom knew these things were dirty,” Tony says. “He certainly knew it contained hepatitis.”
Barry died in September 1986, aged 37, leaving a wife and five children. His younger brother also contracted HIV and died in 2002, while his third brother died from complications of hepatitis C in 2012.
In the wake of Barry’s infection and death, the Farrugia family fell apart. Tony went to live with his biological mother, from whom she was separated, but soon ended up in care. His twin brother, David, was kicked out by his stepmother after Barry’s death and moved to a separate house 100 miles away. They were separated until Tony turned 18. “The tainted blood scandal has destroyed my entire family,” Tony says.