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Mum-of-two dies after contracting Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion

By NDJFaye  |  Posted: April 11, 2014

Magistrates

A BARNSTAPLE woman, described as the “life and soul of the party” died as a result of contracting Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion given to her 30-years-ago, an inquest heard.

Wendy Huxtable, of Green Bank Road, died on May 29, 2013, from end stage liver failure caused by the virus.

The 67-year-old had been given six pints of blood during emergency surgery to save her life after the miscarriage of her third child in August 1983.

The mother-of-two was diagnosed with the virus but was able to live a normal life, until last year when she began to display symptoms of the incurable disease.

The inquest heard how Mrs Huxtable had bled heavily before and after the miscarriage and at one point doctors thought they would have to perform an emergency hysterectomy.

After losing 1,500 millilitres of blood, Mrs Huxtable was given the large blood transfusion that at the time “saved her life”, but in the end the coroner ruled it was “the act which ended her life”.

A statement from Dr Patricia Hewitt, a consultant for the National Blood and Transplant Service, advised the Hepatitis C virus was only discovered in 1987.

She also stated that there were no tests available which could detect Hepatitis C and blood screening of the virus did not begin until 1991.

In a statement read out by deputy coroner John Tomalin, Mrs Huxtable’s husband, Gordon paid tribute to his wife, calling her “the life and soul of the party”.

As well as having two daughters of their own, the couple were foster carers and his wife was the main carer for him after he had a heart attack.

Deputy coroner John Tomalin concluded the verdict was one of misadventure.

He said: “I cannot see what else the doctors could have done in 1983 to save her life.

“What they did, I believe, was in good faith and to the best of their knowledge and understanding at the time.

“It wasn’t known that the blood was infected with Hepatitis C, the act that was designed to help save her life unwittingly, unexpectedly and unintentionally ended her life.”

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