Posts Tagged ‘blood’

Hong Kong lawmaker calls for gays to be allowed to donate blood

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Gay Star news

Opposition lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen has called on the Hong Kong Red Cross to change its rules so that gay men can donate as the group struggles to find new donors
| By Andrew Potts
Hong Kong lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen

Photo by Wikipedia

Openly gay Hong Kong lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen has called on the Blood Bank of Hong Kong to allow people to donate blood regardless of sexual orientation after he was stopped from donating.

Currently any man who has had sex with another man is banned from donating blood in Hong Kong but the Blood Bank has been having trouble attracting new donors and keeping up with demand.

Chan, a representative of the opposition People Power party, made the call after he was turned away from a mobile blood donation service located in the Hong Kong Legislative Council on Wednesday.

‘I was given a questionnaire in which a question asks if I have had sex with a man. I ticked the box,’ Chan told the South China Morning Post.

‘Then a doctor explained to me that statistics and foreign examples show that blood from men who have had sex with men show a high risk [of HIV].

Chan said the ban was impractical because it relied on people’s honesty, so anyone prepared to lie about their sexual orientation could already give blood.

‘Many countries already allow homosexuals to donate blood if they have not had sex in a year. That is what is happening in Britain and Australia,’ Chen said.

Chen said he had spoken to the Hong Kong Hospital Authority about lifting or reducing the ban so that non-promiscuous gay men who practiced safe sex could donate.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service told the newspaper that an expert panel created by the Hospital Authority regularly monitored overseas trends on blood donation.

A non-scientific poll on the South China Morning Post website showed that 54% of those who took part thought gay men should be allowed to donate blood in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Blood Transfusion Service consultant Dr Cheuk-kwong Lee warned in February of a decline of 6.7% in new donors in 2012 and said that blood collection would need to be increased by at least 3.4% in 2013 to meet demand – representing an additional 8,000 units of blood.

Lee estimated that the Blood Transfusion Service would have to collect an additional 8,000 to 10,000 units of blood each year due to the health needs of an aging population.

Tainted-blood victims not told about compensation availability

Sunday, July 17th, 2011


OTTAWA — At least 200 potential victims of Canada’s tainted-blood scandal have never officially been informed they could be entitled to thousands of dollars in compensation.

Only recently, and a decade after the Canadian Red Cross Society put more than $70 million into a trust fund for people who received diseased blood transfusions, did the fund’s trustee learn that no public notice was ever given about the availability of one portion of the fund.

The mix-up is the latest indignity in Canada’s worst public-health scandal, in which thousands of hemophiliacs and transfusion recipients contracted HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and other diseases in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The fund was set up by the courts after the charity sought bankruptcy protection in 1998. A $500,000 sum was made available to victims who contracted blood-borne illnesses other than HIV, hepatitis C and Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease (CJD). It is called the “Other Transfusions Claims Trust” or OTC Fund, one of five comprising the overall trust.

Apparently, however, no one told potential victims of the OTC money or the claims procedure, according to recent evidence in an Ontario court.

Likely as a result, only two individuals made OTC Fund claims. Each received the $10,000 maximum.

Now, with the OTC Fund set to expire Oct. 5, an Ontario judge has granted a one-year extension, while officials scramble to get the word out and administer any resulting claims.

“It appears that general notice of the existence of the fund was not given to potential claimants,” Ontario Superior Court Justice D.M. Brown said in a written decision released this week.

“From the evidence filed, it is apparent that virtually no steps have been taken to give general notice about the existence of the OTC Fund, no claimants ever approached the trustee or his counsel about the OTC Fund and, over the course of 10 years, only two claims have been made.

“Not to extend the [deadline] would impair the effectiveness of the fund and deny access to that fund to eligible claimants who, through no fault of their own, had no knowledge about the existence of the fund.”

The application for an extension was brought by the fund’s trustee, Peter Cory, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice.

In the reasons for his decision, Justice Brown said before the trust fund was sanctioned, the bankruptcy monitor for the Red Cross, “gave general notice to potential transfusion claimants of the need to register to obtain materials regarding the procedure to file proof-of-claim forms.

“The monitor’s proof-of-claim form gave claimants three options by which to describe the nature of their claim: (I) hepatitis C; (ii) HIV; or, (iii) ‘Other’. The deadline for the submission of those forms was July 23, 1999.

“Evidently the trustee and his counsel only recently learned that the monitor’s proof-of-claim form contained an ‘Other’ box. Inquiries with the monitor have disclosed that it received 213 proof-of-claim forms on which the claimant made a marking in the ‘Other’ box.”

About 2,000 hemophiliacs and transfusion recipients contracted HIV/AIDS, while another 20,000 recipients of blood and blood products contracted hepatitis C.

In 1997, a royal commission headed by Justice Horace Krever concluded the federal government, provinces and the Red Cross took too long to respond to the emerging threats of blood-borne AIDS and hepatitis C. His chief recommendation was that all victims, not just those who contract AIDS, be compensated.

He described a number of diseases which could be transmitted by the transfusion of blood, apart from CJD, hepatitis C and HIV, and the evidence presented in the Ontario court action suggested the OTC Fund was intended to compensate persons who contracted those other diseases.

Governments, the Red Cross and insurance companies responded by creating various compensation programs and settled class-action law suits. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been paid to thousands of victims.

In 2005, the Canadian Red Cross pleaded guilty to a single regulatory charge and was fined $5,000.