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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 July, 2003, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Haemophiliac wins health challenge
Medical staff
Mr Longstaff contracted various infections whilst being treated at the RVI

A man suffering from haemophilia has won the first stage of a legal battle to force a health authority to fund treatment he regards as safe.

Peter Longstaff, 45, from Jesmond, in Newcastle, who has been infected with a range of conditions including HIV, wants doctors to use synthetic techniques that would cut the risk of future infections.

But, at present, Newcastle Primary Care Trust is providing this only to younger patients.

In the High Court in London, Mr Justice Owen gave him permission to seek a judicial review of a decision of the trust earlier in 2003 to refuse his request for treatment for haemophilia A with synthetic Recombinant Factor V111.

The hospital authority was following Department of Health guidelines issued in March 1998.

It said only haemophilia A patients aged under 16 and new patients, not previously treated with plasma-based blood clotting products, should receive Factor V111.

'Arguable case'

Mr Longstaff contracted various infections whilst being treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary(RVI), Newcastle.

In 2000 he decided to refuse further treatment with Factor V111 derived from human blood plasma - made from thousands of individual blood donations - on the grounds that it had proved impossible to guarantee the safety of the product.

The judge ruled he had "an arguable case" which should go to a full hearing as a matter of urgency, after hearing his situation was gradually deteriorating and time was important.

The judge said 95 haemophilia patients treated at the RVI, Newcastle, had tested positive for HIV infection in recent years, and 78 had died.

Mr Longstaff was in the surviving group of 17.

Serious bleeding

He had also contracted hepatitis B, diagnosed in the mid-1980s, hepatitis C in 1994. Hepatitis G and HIV were diagnosed about 1985.

Haemophilia is a genetic blood condition in which an essential clotting factor is either partly or completely missing.

This means that even the most minor injury can lead to serious bleeding into the joints, muscles and soft tissues.

It is usually treated by replacing the missing clotting factor through regular injections.



Haemophiliac challenges age policy
20 Jun 03  |  Tyne/Wear
Haemophilia treatment hope
08 Jun 02  |  Health

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