The rejection of an award for psychological suffering and shock by the Hepatitis C compensation tribunal to the daughter of a man who died from HIV infection from contaminated blood products has been overturned by the High Court.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton said it was hard to correlate making an award to the man’s spouse in 2009 in relation to what was referred to as the “horrific” circumstances of the death and then not make a similar finding in respect of his daughter using the same reasoning. He ordered the matter be sent back to the tribunal “for assessment and award”.
The daughter, now aged 44, who was in her teens when her father died and had appealed to the High Court against the Minister for Health and Children, with the Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal as a notice party, over the ruling by the tribunal in February 2015 to dismiss her claim. Her father was one of more than 100 haemophilia sufferers who was given a blood transfusions that was contaminated. Due to this he contracted HIV and died from complications with the disease in 1989, aged just 40 at the time of his passing.
Nine years ago the tribunal made an award, in 2009. to his wife in relation to the trauma she suffered due to the circumstances leading up to her husband’s death. The tribunal had previously referred to his death as “one of the worst cases” before it.
Mr Justice Barton, who was presiding over the appeal filed by the daughter, said she became seriously depressed, and was taken to hospital in 2006 to be treated for the illness which she continues to suffer from. The Judge said he believed her testimony and evidence about the psychological impact that that death of her father had on her.
The judge ruled that her appeal was successful and sent the issue back to the tribunal “for assessment and award”.