Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Mother tells blood inquiry of son's harrowing final moments after HIV diagnosis

Daniel died in 1992 at the age of 20. Credit: Family handout/PA

A mother who believes doctors misled her about the condition of her son, who died after contracting HIV, has told an inquiry his final words to her were: "Get them, mam, get them for what they’ve done."

Margaret Madden said she feared her child, Daniel, was severely ill, but the Infected Blood Inquiry heard she was told: "You are just getting hysterical over nothing, there is nothing wrong with him."

The 68-year-old explained on Friday how she believes her son caught the virus when he was injected with the Factor VIII blood product from the early 1970s onwards as a "miracle" antidote to his haemophilia.

Margaret Madden believes doctors misled her about the condition of her son, who died after contracting HIV. Credit: PA

She said in 1985 she discovered spots on her child’s body, which were dismissed by a GP as being chickenpox. He then began to lose weight and would been unprompted.

Ms Madden said she first became aware of the gravity of her son's symptoms after reading a magazine.

She then took him to Pendlebury Children's Hospital in Salford to discuss her fears, but was dismissed by staff who she claims told her: "You are just imagining it and you are just getting hysterical over nothing, there is nothing wrong with him. It’s your imagination and you are just getting upset over nothing."

After vowing to never return to the hospital, she attempted to take her son to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, but midway through the drive her son became seriously ill on the back seat. Diverting to a medical centre in Middlesborough, she was told that he had just three and half pints of blood left in his body, and that if she had continued to drive to Newcastle he might have died.

After treatment, Daniel was eventually taken to the Newcastle, where his HIV diagnosis was confirmed. He was given as little as six weeks to live.

Having been forced to stay at a farmhouse near Darlington in order to get her son regular treatment in Newcastle, Ms Madden told the inquiry how she had to move out when the farmer said he feared his turkeys would be contaminated by Daniel’s illness.

She said the tyres on the car they were forced to stay in were slashed, with offensive messages about her son's HIV diagnosis being written on the vehicle.

The inquiry heard how she repeatedly had to move house due to people defacing her property, saying that at one stage red crosses were drawn on her front door.

She told the inquiry: "I used to feel like people were always looking at me and talking behind my back, even the teachers at school treated me completely differently."

The inquiry heard how her son eventually developed thrush and effectively "starved to death" at the age of 20 on August 19 1992, with Ms Madden saying: "He knew he was going to die. He just knew.

"His last words to me were ‘Get them, mam, get them for what they’ve done’."

She said that, at the time of his death, her 6ft 1in son weighed just six stones, and was capable of being picked up "like a doll".

In order to fulfil her son’s dying wish, she drove him from Stockton to his birthplace in Manchester to be buried – but said she was told to cover his body in sawdust and put him in a lead-lined coffin.

Ms Madden said: "It was obviously so that he could not contaminate the dead. That’s the only thing I could think of that for."

Explaining how her mother and her cousin, who were also haemophiliacs, both died after contracting hepatitis C, she said: "It shouldn’t have happened. Why did it happen? We all want to know why."

The inquiry, which is looking into the infection of thousands of NHS patients with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood in the 1970s and 1980s, continues in Leeds on Tuesday.

Read more: