‘Many have been left with nothing. I’m still here.’
Neil Reid considers himself one of the lucky ones.
Living with mild haemophilia, Neil was infected with hepatitis C as a teenager when he was given contaminated factor VIII during a hernia operation.
He was not told about his infection until 1993 and then underwent interferon treatment in 1995 which finally cleared the virus after two courses of treatment.
Like many in our community, Neil is following the Infected Blood Inquiry closely, and has also submitted written evidence.
He said: “It’s never far from your mind. Now that I’ve got children, what hits me is guilt and the feeling of how lucky I am. Listening to the inquiry, many people have had horrific experiences and have been left with nothing. Children have been left with no parents.
“I’m the lucky one. I’m in my 50s and I’m still here. ”
Neil believes that the first priority should be for those infected and affected to receive proper compensation.
He said: “So many people suffered financial hardship. Many people lost the main breadwinner in their family and had to bring up children. It was horrific, your life’s changed forever. “
Neil received some financial support following his hepatitis C infection, but felt others infected may have been more deserving.
He said: “I was grateful, but at the same time I did feel a bit of guilt. People who could have really done with that money didn’t get it. That’s a real wrong. “
As a mild haemophiliac, Neil can go years without having to see his haematologist and is usually able to put his condition to the back of his mind.
He said: “The biggest way that haemophilia has affected me is this, the hepatitis. But compared to people dying, my story is very different.
“Whatever happens, you don’t want the inquiry to drag on for ever more but so far I think it’s going at the right pace. We’ll see what happens when people start to be questioned about what went on.
“It may be too late for “justice”, but something should be done to help those people affected for the rest of their lives.”