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Blood Transfusion

Client story: Gaye Nowak

Clients of Leigh Day who have been affected by the infected blood scandal have shared their stories in the lead up to the publication of the Infected Blood Inquiry report.

Posted on 10 May 2024

Gaye Nowak’s late husband, Peter, received contaminated blood. He died in 2005, having not been told about his infection for 26 years. His death certificate states that his cause of death was liver cirrhosis and Hepatitis C infection (HCV).

In 1979, just two months after they married, Peter was involved in a serious car crash and required a blood transfusion at the scene. He was rushed to intensive care and spent almost three months in hospital.

Peter and his family were unaware that he had been infected with HCV for more than 25 years. In August 2005 Peter became seriously ill and collapsed, after he had been experiencing serious flu-like symptoms for about two months. Tests revealed that he had HCV and had developed cirrhosis of the liver. The damage to Peter’s liver was so severe that he was told he would die if he did not have a liver transplant. Tragically, Peter died in December 2005, just four months after being diagnosed.

In the years after his accident and until his diagnosis Peter experienced symptoms which Gaye now believes were caused by HCV. He would become very tired very easily, could become depressed and was sometimes aggressive and angry. This had an enormous impact on his family, work and personal life. Peter and Gaye had no idea that HCV could have been the cause, and the family have been left angry that by the time he was told, there was no realistic chance of him being effectively treated.

The deterioration in Peter’s health and the way in which he died has taken a heavy mental toll on Gaye and on their daughters. By the time Peter was diagnosed, it was too late for him to be given treatment for HCV.

You can read Gaye's full written statement here.


Peter Nowak
Peter Nowak


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