Leighton Buzzard councillor pays tribute to brother who was a victim of contaminated blood scandal

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A Leighton Buzzard councillor has paid a moving tribute to his brother – who he says contracted Hepatitis C after being given contaminated blood in the 70s.

Cllr Pat Carberry explained how his brother Brian gave evidence during the inquiry into the scandal and “campaigned for the truth about what went wrong to be told”. But he died just three weeks before the public inquiry report was published.

Mr Carberry said: "The thing I find most upsetting is that we can’t tell my Bro ‘you were spot on with what went wrong’.”

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Between 1970 and the early 1990s, more than 30,000 NHS patients were given blood transfusions, or treatments which used blood products, contaminated with hepatitis C or HIV. Over 3,000 people have died as a result, and thousands live with ongoing health conditions.

Pat Carberry pictured with his brother Brian, rightPat Carberry pictured with his brother Brian, right
Pat Carberry pictured with his brother Brian, right

Mr Carberry takes up the story: “I was the youngest of three brothers and was always considered the lucky one. Both my brothers Brian and Peter were born with a blood condition called hemophilia which meant their blood lacked clotting proteins affecting the blood’s capacity to clot.

“We were born in the late 60s and brought up in Northern Ireland. Initially, there was little treatment for hemophilia and it was in the 70s that an effective treatment was developed by harvesting a clotting agent from donated blood, the treatment was called factor VIII. This gave my brothers a better opportunity of living a normal childhood but extreme care still needed to be taken to avoid injury and if they did injure themselves they would immediately inject factor VIII.

“My brother Peter unfortunately lost his life due to an accident at the age of 23. For my other brother Brian, he lived a relatively normal life, got married and had three children and worked as a decorator. He was a keen golfer and one of his proudest achievements was when he became his local pub’s golf team captain in 2006.”

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He added: “A public inquiry into the scandal of the contaminated blood was launched in 2018 and took nearly five years to complete and Brian was one of many of the victims who took the stand to give evidence.

"The report was ready for release in January 2024 but the government placed an embargo on its release until May 20. Sadly, Brian didn’t get to see the outcome and know the full truth would finally be revealed as he succumbed to his illness and passed away three weeks prior to the release of the report. Brian became one of the 3,000 people who have now died as a consequence of receiving infected blood.

“Despite everything that my brother went through he maintained a laugh and a smile always filled with positivity. He has been such an inspiration to me and so many others, if I was having a bad day I would think it’s probably nothing compared to the day my brother is having and he can’t maintain a positive attitude then so should I.

"Before my brother passed away he told me of his fears that the inquiry could be yet another whitewash and the real story would never be told. The inquiry delivered on the truth finally, so many people affected can get some closure, something that was cruelly denied to Brian. He leaves behind his devoted wife and children.”

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Mr Carberry posted a statement on Facebook on the day the inquiry report was released: He said: “Today has been a challenge, many know I lost my brother just over three weeks ago. Today was the release of the public inquiry report into contaminated blood, an inquiry my brother, sister-in-law and Brian’s specialist doctor gave evidence. An inquiry that took over five years relating to mistakes dating back 30 years and more.

“For Brian, his devoted wife Caroline who was his rock, and Peter and Deborah his son and daughter, my parents and all Brian’s family and friends it has been a day to further reflect. The problem so many of us will have is that the report affirms so much of this was preventable, that successive governments and senior health officials colluded to prevent the truth being revealed and allowed an ongoing national disaster to unfold.”