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The Gift of Death Confronting Canada's Tainted-Blood Tragedy cover
  • ISBN: 9780002554152
  • ISBN10: 0002554151

The Gift of Death Confronting Canada's Tainted-Blood Tragedy

by Andre Picard

  • List Price: $21.50
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Harpercollins Canada
  • Publish date: 09/01/1995
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Few Canadians know of "Mr. L", an auto worker' in Ontario who gave "the gift of life" in 1984 as part of a company blood donor drive. Many more will remember Kenneth Pittman, a 53-year-old heart patient, who died after being infected with AIDS -- from Mr. L's blood. They will also remember Mr. Pittman's wife, Rochelle, who contracted the virus from her husband because his doctor decided not to inform them of Mr. Pittman's fatal disease.

This tragic story is a microcosm of Canada's blood scandal, says award-winning investigative journalist Andre Picard. For over a decade, bureaucratic dithering, profits-over-protection responses, a paternalistic medical establishment, and uninformed victims combined to create the worst health-care disaster in Canadian history. More than 1,200 people have contracted AIDS from tainted blood -- and the dying continues.

In a shocking expose that charts a course of disaster beginning with the first sign of HIV infection spreading to Canada, to the 1984 "Consensus Conference" where the federal government already knew that more than half of Canadian hemophiliacs were infected with HIV and the continuing Krever inquiry, Andre Picard has produced the definitive analysis of this complex tragedy. All of the players are here -- public health officials who refused to take the "homosexual plague" seriously; the Red Cross, which worried about bad publicity and the bottom line; the too-little-too-late government that offered inadequate compensation for victims; an arrogant medical establishment which sometimes took years to inform HIV patients of their' condition; and most of all, the victims, who are paying for this betrayal with their' lives.

Andre Picard hasspent years investigating and unravelling the tainted blood scandal. His unparalleled knowledge of and accessibility to doctors, scientists, bureaucrats, and the victims and their families, make The Gift of Death a deeply human, moving, often frightening story that is superbly researched and far-reaching in its criticism. It calls for a serious re-evaluation of an outdated blood system to ensure that a similar tragedy never occurs.

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