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WIPED OUT.

Byline: VIVIENNE AITKEN

A SCOT battling AIDS after a blood product blunder has told how 14 of his friends and family have died from the virus.

Haemophiliac Robert Mackie has suffered heartache as three members of his family and most of his pals have died. All were given an infected batch of Factor VIII - a product that helps blood clot - in the 1980s.

Speaking out for the first time, Robert, 64, said: "As far as I am TURN TO PAGE FOUR FROM PA M P GEONE concerned, these are criminal actions."

" Tomorrow, he hopes to finally discover why they were infected when omorrow, he hopes to finally discover why they were infected when the Penrose Inquiry publishes its report into Scotland's contaminated blood scandal.

Dad-of-one Robert, from Peebles in the Borders, wants those responsible prosecuted.

HIV and AIDS robbed him and his wife Alice of the chance of having more children.

They lost their careers and had to watch the ones they loved die horrible deaths from AIDS.

Only Robert and one other man are alive of the 16 men given the same batch of Factor VIII at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

It was produced in Scotland from blood understood to have come from one donor.

Robert said: "The more people I knew died, the more angry I got. I can't go to funerals any more because I went to so many.

"We all knew each other because we socialised, particularly as kids, and had spent time in hospital together. We were a close community.

"I want some justice for what happened to us. It is genocidal what happened to our community.

I can't to any because went many Robert "I come from a large family of haemophiliacs. One of my uncles was a severe haemophiliac and got a kidney transplant. He survived that major surgery and there was no treat ment at all back then. "He survived that. He was a tough boy. But he never survived AIDS.

"Two uncles and a cousin got HIV.

They are all dead.

"Even now, I can't tell you their names because the stigma of this disease still affects their families."

Robert believes there were not enough checks on the Factor VIII. He said: "They never told any of us there were any risks."

Robert, who also got Hepatitis C to so MACKIE from the infusion, said: "The bleeding affects haemophiliacs' joints but the Factor VIII prevents joint damage.

"If you had a bleed, you would just rest for a few days. It makes life more convenient but it wasn't essential at all.

"I survived car crashes, motorbike crashes and bicycle crashes in my youth without the use of Factor VIII.

"If I cut myself, I put on a compression bandage - I didn't bleed to death. I was in my teens before there was Factor VIII. My uncles were in their 40s.

"If I had known the risks, I would never have taken it.

"By the time we were informed of the risks, we already had AIDS. But in New Zealand they knew of the risks since September 1983.

"It was far too late by 1984 not to have been warned of the risks.

"I kept raising questions about the safety of Factor VIII - for the safety of my wife and any children we might have. There were people dying in Africa and no one knew why.

"I was afraid there would be contamination in the Factor VIII. They told me, 'We will bar you from the hospital because you are upsetting other patients'.

"They just kept telling us the blood was thoroughly checked and there were no problems."

In 1984, Robert got a throat infection which wouldn't clear up.

He was told he just had a virus. In fact, it was his body reacting to the HIV virus. That December, Robert, his uncles, cousin and friends were taken to a meeting at the infirmary where doctors told them some haemophiliacs had developed HTLV3 - HIV's original name.

Three years later, he learned he had HIV. It was 16 years before he was told he had Hepatitis C. For three years, he had innocently put his wife Alice at risk of infection. The hospital never offered her a test.

Alice, 57, said: "The wives don't want people to know what their husbands died of. The stigma has not gone."

It was 1997 before Robert took seriously ill. By then, most of his infected friends and family were already dead.

Alice said: "He was offered antiretrovirals but the people who had taken them had started to die so Robert refused to take anything until 2000 because the medication had changed. By then he was at death's door."

Robert is almost housebound now. Before taking ill, he hoped to work as a ghillie because he loved the outdoor life. Alice said: "His plans - our plans - for the future were changed.

"Initially, he was told he had three to five years so we just got on with things knowing he could die at any time. That's what AIDS does.

"I planned to have more children but AIDS put a stop to that."

Robert said there had been moves to exclude AIDS infections from the Penrose Inquiry. He said: "People said 'most of them are dead anyway' but I want justice for myself and those who died.

"You don't walk away from something like that, especially when you see as many people dying as we saw. I want those responsible to be held accountable for their actions."

Dr Brian Cook, NHS Lothian's medical director of acute services, said: "We are awaiting the report from the Penrose Inquiry and it would be inappropriate for us to comment before the findings are published."

Judge to tell why hundreds were infected Penrose Inquiry will publish its tomorrow.

inquiry was into how patients by the NHS in Scotland became with Hepatitis C, HIV or both, the use of blood or blood Penrose was appointed to in January 2009. 70 Scots, most treated at Royal Infirmary and Yorkhill hospital in Glasgow, became with HIV in the early 1980s. developed full blown AIDS and the are now dead.

of those infected were haemophiliacs who received Factor VIII produced in Scotland or from the sector - largely imports the United States.

the United States.

more difficult to say how many were infected with Hepatitis C the total runs to hundreds. Some were infected in hospitals through full blood transfusions as a of an accident or operation. But every haemophiliac in the country who used Factor VIII during more difficult to say how many were infected with Hepatitis C the total runs to hundreds. Some were infected in hospitals through full blood transfusions as a of an accident or operation. But every haemophiliac in the country who used Factor VIII during that time was infected.

Although treatment has progressed for Hepatitis C, the

s I can't go to funerals any more because I went to so many ROBERT MACKIERobert's plans - our plans - for the future were changed. WIFE ALICE Robert's plans - our plans - for the future were changed. WIFE ALICE

CAPTION(S):

ANSWERS Robert Mackie hopes inquiry report will bring justice Picture: Gordon Jack

INFECTED Factor VIII infusion

SUFFERING Robert has fought AIDS. Right, he wanted to be a ghillie. Picture: Gordon Jack

REPORT Lord Penrose
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 24, 2015
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