In memory of Jane Tibbutt

Written by Aaron Dennis, July 14, 2020

Jane Tibbutt, who died, aged 80, in May 2020, lived with a bleeding disorder and, as a nurse and mother, cared for many others with haemophilia.

Inspired by her warm personality, her family and friends have donated more than £2,000 to The Haemophilia Society in Jane’s memory to help us continue that vital care.

Dr David Tibbutt, Jane’s husband, said: “The Haemophilia Society has always been extremely supportive of our family. Our connection to The Society has been very strong, so it was an easy choice when deciding which charity to nominate following Jane’s death. We were delighted by the amount raised.”

Haemophilia was part of Jane’s life from an early age – her brother Patrick was diagnosed with severe haemophilia A as a baby and one of her two sons also has the condition. Jane herself had low factor VIII levels, resulting in a number of serious knee joint bleeds.

Her mother, Lady Daphne Harvey (wife of Air Vice Marshall Sir George Harvey), was an early and active member of The Society. She and others were responsible for setting up a hostel in Oxford so that people with haemophilia had somewhere to stay when they came for treatment at the city’s haemophilia centre – often from all over the country. Later, in the 1970s, David was chair of the Oxford branch of The Haemophilia Society.

A medical family, Jane was a State Registered Nurse, an orthopaedic nurse in the Oxford Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre as well as a midwife and David was a cardiologist. Jane often worked with people with haemophilia, once daring to advise an inexperienced doctor not to give an injection into the muscle of someone with haemophilia. He ignored her – and regretted it.

With David working long hours as a junior doctor, Jane cared for their sons, Mark and William, which often involved a lot of hard work. She pushed William in his wheelchair half a mile to school every morning, returning to collect him at lunchtime, and then picked him up again at the end of the day. Jane helped William manage his haemophilia, and he was able to self-inject from the age of eight.

When their sons were grown up, David and Jane worked together in Uganda running the Continuing Medical Education programme for the Ministry of Health. They travelled all over the country in their Land Rover to visit hospitals, teach and help treat patients. David later worked in Rwanda and they visited both countries regularly.

The contaminated blood scandal hit the family hard – Jane and her son were infected with hepatitis C and her brother, Patrick, died in his 40s from HIV. While William cleared the virus naturally, Jane’s infection caused a peripheral neuropathy leading to a loss of feeling in her hands and feet. In addition she developed atrial fibrillation (intermittent irregular heart rhythm) that may also have been caused by the hepatitis-C infection.

Although she was often sore and suffered very painful joints from rheumatoid arthritis, her family remember her smiling, always looking for the positives in life.

David said: “Jane was very stoical. She never grumbled about her own health problems and always felt everyone else’s were much worse than hers. I miss Jane’s smile, her contentedness and her compassion for other people. She was a wonderful nurse, wife for 54 years, mother and grandmother … everyone loved Jane.”