'Deeply disturbing' footage from 1970s uncovered of Northern Irish blood victim receiving Factor 8

UTV has uncovered footage from almost 50 years ago showing a 10-year haemophiliac being injected with Factor 8 - hailed as "wonder treatment" at the time, which turned out to be very far from the actual case.

Today the Prime Minister offered an "unequivocal apology" describing the infected blood scandal as something which should "shake our nation to the core".

Rishi Sunak promised "comprehensive compensation" no matter the cost.

Paul Kirkpatrick now in his 50s has lived much of his life with Hepatitis C - a blood borne virus contracted by thousands of people treated by the NHS in the 1970s and 1980s.

"We're looking at a video from our film clips from 1976. Now in 2024 and in May 2024 we are still losing people," Paul told UTV after watching the footage for the very first time since it was broadcast.

One of the thousands of victims of the scandal to have died is Paul's older brother Desmond - he too received contaminated blood products and died suddenly with cancer 10 years ago.

Paul (bottom right) featured in this UTV footage with his brother and parents. Paul is only the person in this photo who is still alive. Credit: UTV

"The diagnosis changed within two or three days from a treatable cancer to a life ending cancer," Paul said, describing Desmond's liver and stomach as being 'riddled' with the disease.

"The Inquiry brought in medical experts and he gave me a good rational explanation explanation around it because no one should die in this day and age that quickly."

"3,000 people, a generation of haemophilias are being wiped out through getting treatment... supposed to help you rather than kill you."

Desmond and Paul Kirkpatrick Credit: Family photo

Paul and Desmond were cared for at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where they received Factor 8 treatment, which was revolutionary for its time in that it allowed patients to be treated for bleeds at home.

The feature, filmed by UTV, was designed to highlight the life changing qualities of the treatment which was often termed a 'miracle drug.'

Paul and Desmond, like many other patients, were treated by the late Dr Elizabeth Mayne, Northern Ireland's Consultant Haemotologist.

In the footage from 1976, Dr Mayne is pressed by a UTV reporter as to whether there are any problems with rejection in relation to Factor 8.

  • WATCH: Dr Elizabeth Mayne speaking to UTV in 1976:

"There really is very little in terms of rejection. We always stick to the patient's blood group," Dr Mayne told the reporter.

"In any blood transfusion that any patient receives, there is always a risk of getting a virus causing jaundice, a virus, hepatitis.

"When we come to the commercial, or the very concentrated Factor 8, this has been harvested from perhaps thousands of donors and put through a manufacturing process and therefore they hope very much that they will have diluted out the risk in one sense," she explained.

"They also only accept blood from a donor that has been showed by blood testing to be negative for this virus so there are enormous expensive safeguards built in.

"But like everything it's not perfect and sometimes a little virus does slip in and a patient will in fact get jaundice," she added.

Reacting to this interview with Dr Mayne, Paul described her comments as "quite disturbing".

"She's just totally avoiding and minimising the potential of all those viruses and considering the amount of red flags that preceded 1976, I struggle to reconcile why we were put on it at that stage with the knowledge already that was out there."

Paul Kirkpatrick recieving Factor 8 treatment at the Royal Victoria Hospital as a 10 year old boy. Credit: UTV

"I've seen a mountain of evidence and it is quite shocking," Paul told us after watching the footage in detail.

"We've lost so many; we've lost brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers; we've lost those years of having to manage our lives

"People are still dying from treatment that was injected into the 1970s."

Catch up with the latest UTV Live on ITVX

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.