The decision of the Hepatitis C compensation tribunal to prevent the daughter of a man who died from HIV infection due to contaminated blood products from seeking a medical negligence compensation award for psychological suffering has been overturned at the High Court.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton said it was hard to accept that the tribunal made an award to the man’s wife in 2009 in connection to what was termed to as the “horrific” circumstances of the man’s death and then not make a similar ruling in relation to his daughter who went through the same experience. Judge Barton ruled that the claim should be sent back to the tribunal “for assessment and award”.
The daughter, who is now 44 years old, was in her teens when her father passed away. She had appealed to the court against the Minister for Health and Children, with the Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal as a notice party, over the decision made by the tribunal in February 2015 not to allow her submit a medical negligence compensation claim. Her father was one of a group of over 100 people suffering from haemophilia who was given a blood transfusions that was contaminated. As a result of this he contracted HIV and died from issues he experienced from the disease in 1989 when he as just 40 years olds.
The tribunal approved a medical negligence compensation payment to the man’s wife in 2009 in relation to the trauma she experienced leading up to her husband’s death. The Hepatitis C tribunal had said that the death of the man in question was “one of the worst cases” before it.
Mr Justice Barton said that the man’s daughter had been seriously depressed and was admitted to hospital in 2006 so her illness could be treated. However she still suffers from it today. The Judge said he accepted the daughter’s testimony in relation to the psychological affects that the circumstances of her father’s death had on her.
Justice Barton sent the issue back to the tribunal “for assessment and award”.