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Wednesday, 1 December, 1999, 07:00 GMT
More help plea for CJD victims
Scientist checking samples A scientist checks tissue samples for CJD

A Scottish MP is urging the UK Government to provide more assistance to the victims of the human form of mad cow disease.

According to the CJD surveillance unit in Edinburgh, 48 people have died in the UK of new variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease and around eight Scots are presently diagnosed with the disease.

Mr Clarke, who represents the constituency of Coatbridge and Chryston, believes too little is being done for sufferers the sufferers and their carers.

Tom Clarke Tom Clarke: Pleads for more help
He began his battle for victims of the disease when one of his constituents, Donnamarie McGivern from Coatbridge, died aged 17.

Before she lost her fight for life, the teenager's parents nursed her at home round the clock.

During a short debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Clarke will assert that many families face not only logistical difficulties but suffer from the lack of a co-ordinated approach from local authorities and health trusts.

The MP will call for a central fund to be set up - at an annual cost of 750,000 - to assess the needs of victims and their families, co-ordinate health care, and ensure support is provided.

Donnamarie was diagnosed with the incurable illness in June 1997 and is believed to have survived longer than anyone else.

Double vision

At first doctors thought she was suffering from a brain tumour after she complained of headaches, leg pains and double vision.

Just days after her 15th birthday, surgeons at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow found she was a new variant CJD victim.

The teenager was unable to speak for the last two years of her life and in the final stages of her illness she could only open or close her eyes.

Both her parents, Marie and James, gave up their jobs to look after their only daughter.

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See also:
03 Sep 99 |  Scotland
CJD victim loses battle for life
18 Mar 99 |  Health
CJD families to sue government
25 Nov 98 |  Health
CJD families denied compensation
08 Jan 99 |  Health
CJD discovery in mice
20 May 99 |  Health
BSE 'may never have posed human danger'
02 Oct 98 |  Health
Deaths of CJD man and cat linked
28 Oct 98 |  Health
International centre launched for CJD research
14 Dec 98 |  Health
Bottomley: I followed scientists' advice on CJD
18 Aug 99 |  Medical notes
Prion diseases: A brief history
21 May 99 |  Health
CJD deaths could be on the rise

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