Submission date for records extended

 

The Irish Haemophilia Society successfully applied yesterday to extend the deadline for submitting to the Lindsay tribunal additional medical records of haemophiliacs infected with HIV and hepatitis C.

This was despite opposition from a number of parties.

Individual patient records will be scrutinised during the next phase of the tribunal when the actions of doctors who treated haemophiliacs who became infected with HIV and hepatitis C from contaminated blood products, are examined.

The tribunal had proposed examining the records of about 25 haemophiliacs whose cases were believed to represent those of 210 infected persons.

The tribunal had given the IHS until yesterday to furnish records of others it believed were relevant.

Counsel for the IHS, in seeking to have the deadline extended at a special tribunal sitting, said it would be bordering on "reckless" for the tribunal not to examine all relevant medical files.

Mr Martin Giblin SC, suggested by refusing to allow the submission of additional records it believed were relevant the tribunal would "sacrifice" the good work it had done to date.

He said the IHS's concern about this matter was heightened to alarm at the weekend when it looked at over 20 patient files, at least two of which would appear to be relevant but were not among the 25 selected.

He added it was not possible for the tribunal to say 25 patients' medical records were representative of all 210, unless the 210 had been looked at.

Counsel for Prof Ian Temperley, former director of the National Haemophilia Treatment Centre, opposed the application. Mr Brian McGovern SC, said his client had waited a very long time to refute allegations which were made by witnesses. If this application was granted his evidence would be delayed further.

Mr Mel Christle SC, counsel for the National Children's Hospital, said the application suggested mistrust by the IHS in the tribunal lawyers, a suggestion rejected by the IHS.

Mr John Finlay SC, for the tribunal, said the records should have been made available by the IHS "a very long time ago". He said it was neither necessary nor appropriate for the tribunal to examine publicly the records of all infected persons.

He said if the IHS had additional records it seemed appropriate they be given an opportunity to furnish them.

Mr Giblin said the IHS did not know until December 11th which medical records would be used and not used.

Judge Alison Lindsay agreed to extend the deadline for the submission of medical records to January 8th and postponed oral hearings of the tribunal for one week to January 18th.