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Red Cross pleads guilty to spreading HIV blood

Public Health Red Cross Spreads HIV blood 2005

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#1 Godeskian


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Posted 31 May 2005 - 08:05 AM



The Red Cross in Canada has pleaded guilty to distributing contaminated blood supplies which infected thousands of Canadians with HIV and hepatitis C.
More than 3,000 people have died since getting the tainted blood in the 1980s.

The blood scandal is widely regarded as one of the worst public health disasters in Canadian history.

The organisation now faces a fine of up to C$5,000 ($4,000) but charges of criminal negligence could be dropped as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

I'm looking at this and the numbers don't add up. a five grand fine for infecting 3000 people? Does the court now judge Canadian life at a little over 1.60 Canadian Dollars?  :dontgetit:


And for the first time, the head of the Canadian Red Cross, Dr Pierre Duplessis, has apologised to the victims and their families.

In a video-taped message shown in court, Dr Duplessis said the Red Cross accepted responsibility for distributing harmful products to those that relied on the charity for their health.

More than 1,000 people became infected with HIV and as many as 20,000 others contracted hepatitis C through blood transfusions and blood products


John Plater, Ontario president of the CHS, said: "Finally, the Red Cross has accepted responsibility for their part in the tainted blood tragedy.

"It's the least they can do for the sake of victims who have waited two decades for someone to be held accountable."

Can I get the thoughts from some of our resident canuck's on this, as there is something about this that just feels all wrong.

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#2 sierraleone


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Posted 31 May 2005 - 08:33 AM

I was born in early 80s, so I didn't hear much about this the first time around. Some other Canadian will have to enlighten us.

Being born then, I also don't know much about the HIV timeline... did they *know* they were passing around HIV contaminated blood? Were there tests for it at the time this was happening?

They should have known about hepatitis C contamination though (at least I would suspect so)

Found a link with some more information:


HAMILTON -- Tens of thousands of Canadians infected with AIDS or hepatitis C got an apology from the Canadian Red Cross yesterday after the charity pleaded guilty to distributing tainted blood in exchange for dropped criminal charges.

Plead guilty, and suddenly the criminal charges are dropped... oh great.


"We accept responsibility through our plea for having distributed harmful products to those that rely on us for their health."

I'm sure the plea will be much confort to those living with HIV/Hep C (or those with families living with their death)


The charity accepted responsibility for the deadly tainted-blood scandal of the 1980s and early 1990s and said it would pay a $5,000 fine and dedicate $1.5 million to a scholarship fund and research project aimed at reducing medical errors.

In exchange for a guilty plea under the federal Food and Drugs Act, the Crown withdrew charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and common nuisance.

So they are paying a 5 000$ fine, and donating $750 000 to scholarship for victims, and another $750 000 to research to ensure this doesn't happen again.


In an agreed statement of facts, prosecutor John Ayre said the organization had been too slow in implementing screening for HIV and hepatitis C in blood in the 1980s.

Ayre said convicting the non-profit organization of a criminal offence and levying a large fine would cripple its ability to carry on the humanitarian relief work for which it is renowned.

How slow? I suppose I'll need to pull up an HIV timeline... why were they slow? because they figure few people were infected? Figured it would slow them down and prevent them from helping the most people?

Edited by sierraleone, 31 May 2005 - 08:34 AM.

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#3 QueenTiye


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Posted 31 May 2005 - 04:01 PM

I remember this.  The Red Cross didn't start reacting to this until people started refusing to give blood.  Then all of a sudden they needed to actively put on a face of screening carefully, changing needles, and  the like, to prevent people who were giving blood from contracting blood-transmitted disease.  Right around that time, the gay community was beginning to promote awareness about needle sharing, and condom usage, the general public began questioning the blood supply.  And when Arthur Ashe contracted AIDS through blood transfusion, suddenly the issue was more real than anyone realized.

I agree the money is too low. OTOH, how do you penalize the Red Cross? What happens if you punitively fine them?  How do they continue doing the work they are doing?  What I do believe should be part and parcel of the deal is free medical care for anyone infected by bad blood, paid for by the Red Cross.  That's not punitive, and it IS fair.


Een Draght Mackt Maght

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