Italian Patients Infected With HIV and other Viruses via Blood Transfusion*
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Italy must pay an aggregate sum of €10 million in compensation to over 350 people who were infected with several viruses through blood transfusions.
The victims were infected with HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or a combination of the viruses through transfusions during treatment or surgery for hemophilia or thalassemia.
“The causal link between transfusions and infected blood has been proven,” the court said, adding that the victims were authorized to compensation totaling €10 million, which would be divided between them.
However, the European Court of Human Rights took into account only one third of the actual number reported by the Italian association of patients. The court examined 371 claims and the compensation for damage to health, should amount to a total of 10 million euros.
For 7 patients who submitted claims to court, lawyers from Strasbourg established a compensation for material costs, which varies from 73 thousand to 350 thousand euros. The lawyers noted that Italy as a nation has violated the right to equality of the parties in the judicial process, accusing Italy of disrespect for property rights.
However, for the remaining 364 cases of infection, the court mandated that Italy pay as little as 20-35 thousand euros in damages, depending on the length of the procedures carried out with patients.
As for the other cases that were filed, totalling about 500, the court rejected the appeal, thus leaving patients and their families without any help at all.
““Our struggle has continued for more than 30 years,” Angelo Magrini told the newspaper Corriere della Sera.
“Although today’s judgment is important in terms of human dignity, to the end we are not satisfied.”
Angelo Magrini, President of the Association of Victims of transfusions, was infected with hepatitis C in 1991 through a blood transfusion and is now suffering from liver cancer.
“In our claims to Strasbourg Court we demanded compensation of 630,000 for the families of deceased who were infected and 430,000 for the victims who were still living.”
“The court however, awarded an amount which is significantly less and only for the living. But over 30 years, 4,500 people have died without receiving a single euro,” Magrini concluded.