The first witness on the final day in Cardiff was Gaynor Lewis. Gaynor gave evidence regarding her husband Haydn Lewis. Haydn suffered from moderate haemophilia.
Haydn was initially treated with Cryoprecipitate and received treatment at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary and Llandough Hospital. Around 1972 he switched to the University Hospital of Wales under the care of Professor Bloom. In about 1978 his treatment changed to Factor VIII.
Mrs. Lewis told the Inquiry how she recalled in 1985, Haydn receiving a call from Professor Bloom at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) to go to see him. Professor Bloom told Haydn that he had become infected with HIV. Mrs Lewis remembers Haydn returning home in shock. Professor Bloom had told him that he had maybe, 3-5 years to live. Haydn was not aware that his blood was being tested for HIV.
In the early 1990’s Haydn had been suffering from a pain in his side. He was told in a ‘matter of fact’ way that he had hepatitis C.
Mrs. Lewis explained to the Inquiry how Haydn and others came to set up the Birchgrove Group to support victims, and how they would hold regular meetings at the Birchgrove pub for people who had become infected. Mrs. Lewis explained how the meetings became popular and then welcomed not only infected people but also the affected family members. Haydn was also involved with the early days of the charity Haemophilia Wales. Mrs. Lewis explained that Haydn was determined to try to find out the truth of how this terrible tragedy had been allowed to happen and who was responsible.
To the shock of all attending, the Inquiry was shown an exhibit of an exchange of e-mails from the MacFarlane Trust in which defamatory remarks were made about Haydn. Haydn considered that the MacFarlane Trust did not provide enough financial support for people infected and their families.
Mrs. Lewis told the Inquiry of the stigma associated with HIV and hepatitis C. She explained of how they had been physically attacked on one occasion.
In 2008 it was discovered that Haydn had a tumour on his liver and required a transplant. He underwent the transplant in 2009. However he only discovered that the cancer had returned when he asked for an AFP test. Haydn Lewis sadly died on 21st May 2010.
The second witness on the final day in Cardiff was Beverly Tumelty. Beverly gave evidence regarding her brother Gareth Lewis. Gareth was the brother of Haydn Lewis. Gareth was born with haemophilia A and was infected with HIV and hepatitis C as a result of receiving contaminated blood.
Beverly explained to the Inquiry that Gareth was told that he had become infected with HIV in 1984 and told that his life expectancy was only a couple of years. Gareth was treated with high doses of AZT treatment which compromised his immune system.
Beverly explained to the Inquiry that she is a nurse by profession and had gone through Gareth’s medical notes and records. She explained that there is no record whatsoever of conversations regarding HIV and hepatitis C within the records and believes that large chunks of the records are missing.
Gareth was an active member of the Birchgrove Group and an active campaigner.
Beverly described the terrible stigma surrounding HIV and hepatitis C to the Inquiry that Gareth had experienced first hand. She explained how Gareth’s work colleagues would bleach mugs and not use the toilet after him. Beverly went on to explain that even to this day there is a wariness from health professionals.
Haydn and Gareth sadly died within 7 months of each other. Gareth having suffered a massive stroke in Spain in December 2010.
Sir Brian Langstaff commended Beverly on her bravery and clarity whilst giving her evidence.
The fourth witness on the final day in Cardiff was Anthony Lane. Mr. Lane gave evidence regarding his wife Patricia (Trish) Lane. Trish was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 1985 and became infected with hepatitis C as a result of being given platelets donated by an AIDS infected donor. She was tested and told of her hepatitis C infection in 1997. Mr. Lane explained that Trish also contracted shingles which resulted in the loss of eyesight in her left eye. Sadly Trish passed away on the 11th October 2015.