Friday, November 09, 2007

Feeling lucky........

I had my daughter 16 years ago. She's wonderful and lovely and all things brilliant and after I had her she was all that mattered. So a few years after having her, when the anti D blood scandal broke (about 1995) I never gave it much thought. My mother and I were both eligible for testing but neither of us bothered at the time.
Quick explanation from this website:

"What is "anti-D"?

"Anti-D" was considered to be a revolutionary treatment for a condition that affects a small minority of pregnant women who have a rhesus-blood type opposite to their babies. If such a condition is left untreated in the mother, it can lead to severe anaemia and brain damage or death in subsequent babies. "Anti-D" itself is a substance that can be isolated from a group of blood donors who have naturally occurring anti-D antibodies. The BTSB began manufacturing it in 1968 at its laboratories at Pelican House in Dublin."

(The scandal being that many women were contaminated with hepatitis despite the BTSB being aware of issues).

Anyway, 12 years after having my daughter (2003) a letter arrived addressed to me from the BTSB. It asked me to go for testing, just to rule out what was probably nothing, I was told. What pressed on my mind the entire day was this: I had four changes of addresses in those 12 years and they still tracked me down. I couldn't stop thinking about that.
So a special testing kit was got, tests done, sent off, waiting then. I really didn't give it much thought for a number of reasons; 1. I felt healthy, 2. I felt lucky.
And so I was. The doctor eventually told me that I had indeed received contaminated blood products (which I suspected when I saw that letter arriving) but there was no trace of hepatitis. So everytime I need to be reminded of how lucky I am I think about this episode. And everytime I need to be reminded that it's great to be alive I think about it again. Even though it's not something I ever really told anyone else about.....until now!


  1. shanachie and idiots mother here i had that scare too the one earlier than u i went for the test and was given the all clear however i do know a few people who contracted hep c very scary stuff especially when u are at a vunerable time and dont even think to ask what its all about

  2. I'd be mad scared getting that letter. I don't know why but I can't help but being glass half full in situations of medical incompetence. I compare my 50% to the 0% if there was no medical intervention, and not the 100% were the job done right.

  3. So glad you're not sick! It's a horrible thing, being hurt by a product that was meant to be helping you...

  4. Hi Aileen, it is scary stuff indeed. Can't imagine what it's like for someone to have a different test result to mine.
    Hi Milan, the trouble with a lot of these scandals is that it's not incompetence, because that implies accident or just misphap. The BTSB were told of problems and still continued to use faulty products. Would those people who knew of the problems have taken an anti-D injection themselves? I suspect not. That's what makes me angry about such scandals.
    Hey Jo! There are so many people affected by this, it's scary stuff.

  5. You're extremely lucky Ash, and have something to be thankful for every day :)