As a young boy, Stuart McLean found he bruised easily.
By the time he was eight, a swollen knee prompted his parents to seek treatment – which led to a diagnosis of the bleeding disorder haemophilia.
“According to my medical notes, the hospital gave me Factor VIII blood product treatment over three days and gave me another dose three weeks later,” Stuart, who is now 50, told HuffPost UK.
Stuart went throughout his life believing he suffered from the blood disorder, thinking the only reason he’d avoided further medical episodes was because he had a mild form of it.
It was only decades after his first diagnosis, through a chance appointment with a new haematologist, that he learned the shocking and life-changing truth.
The specialist suggested Stuart be tested for hepatitis C, a disease that had previously never concerned him.
“I thought to myself: ‘I’ll be fine as I don’t do drugs.’ I was ignorant to this whole scandal, and presumed hepatitis C was something that only affected junkies.”
“When I was told I had hepatitis C, my whole world fell apart.”
Not only was Stuart misdiagnosed with haemophilia, he had also been infected with contaminated blood. And perhaps most disturbingly, medical notes that have now come to light show that it was known he did not suffer from a bleeding disorder – more than a year before he was given treatment for one.
Stuart is one of the many people campaigning for truth and justice at the Infected Blood Inquiry which will reopen today with former health minister Lord David Owen due as its first witness of this session.
The diagnosis of hepatitis C led Stuart, who lives in Kent with his wife Karen, to become suicidal.
“I stood on a motorway bridge ready to jump because I did not want to be a burden to my family,” he recalled.
“The only reason I am still here is because I thought of my grandson.”
Factor VIII is a clotting medication for haemophilia. It infected around 4,000 people with Hepatitis C in the...