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Blood Transfusions and XMRV - would there be legal recourse?

Discussion in 'XMRV Testing, Treatment and Transmission' started by dsdmom, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. dsdmom

    dsdmom Senior Member

    I'm wondering if one would have legal recourse if it were discovered that they contracted XMRV in a blood transfusion. Part of me thinks that you wouldn't, since XMRV was not screened for at the time and the agencies were in the dark as far as XMRV goes. Therefore, how could they be held responsible?

    I am sure there is legal precedent set from the HIV era, I just don't know what it is.

    I was given several transfusions in late 2006 for some serious postpartum complications. It was following these events that I became ill. Dr Klimas recently said that the timing could be just right...of course I haven't been tested and we would have to test the blood I was transfused with, but I'm just wondering if there's anybody who could be held responsible or if it's just crap luck. I know that when you sign a release to get a transfusion it states that there is a risk of contracting an unknown pathogen..at least I think it says that. But with my first set of transfusions I don't know that I signed that release since it was done in an emergency setting.

    **OOPS...Administrator: can you edit the title to read "Transfusions" - not sure how I misspelled that!
  2. Otis

    Otis SeƱor Mumbler

    Title is fixed

    Happy to help - Otis
  3. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

    Dr Peterson (WPI) said in a talk that he has several patients with problems after a blood transfusion. HE did say some about legal talks or action?

    See his talk to the CFSAC
  4. dsdmom

    dsdmom Senior Member

    Otis- thank you!

    ukxmrv, I remember reading that about Peterson's patient(s) and that is what got me thinking. I just wonder if there is anything that can be done legally.

    Does anybody else have insight into this?
  5. andreamarie

    andreamarie Senior Member

    There was no legal recourse after HIV before blood was screened for it. Afterwards, I don't know.
  6. bluebell

    bluebell Guest

    Based on my limited legal training (I am not a lawyer):

    The doctors and the suppliers of blood would generally be held to a reasonable care standard. Reasonable care is generally, though not always, the same as the industry standard. There was no way for them to find XMRV, so I can't think of a way they could be liable for any injury. Additionally, most states have "blood shield" laws that bar suits for blood transfusions. There are many rare diseases you can get from a blood transfusion. If they are so rare that they are not screened for by the majority of banks, then it is simply your misfortune if you end up with one. Even though this sounds harsh, it's designed to save lives by making sure that a) blood banks can provide blood without charging 1000 dollars an ounce and b) doctors will give you a transfusion when it is necessary. You probably signed a waiver releasing the hospital from any liability for this anyway.

    Getting restitution for XMRV infection is really not likely (though if it turns out that it was in vaccines and someone knew or should have known about the risk, I hope one of us gives it a try). Vaccine cases end up in a special little court, btw - the pay outs are by the gov't, not the companies. Same reasoning as for the blood, the gov't needs companies to provide vaccines, and most would be too worried about liability to do so unless the gov't provided some immunity. So to speak;-). I think there have been a few instances where people have been allowed to sue in "real" court, but not many.

    Sorry. Feeling this way makes you litigious, doesn't it?
  7. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

    DS mom, WPI was looking for people that thought they got sick from a blood transfusion- I hope that you contacted them in this regards they would love to hear from you, especially fairly recently like you.

    Legal recourse; I think that all PWC should file a class action against the CDC. They have known for 3 decades that this is viral and they have denied it. They refused to give research dollars, they misspent research dollars, and Reeves has been plain incompetent and researching psych illness. They have prevented the medical schools from adequatly educating the doctors. There is extreme negligence.

    Thousands of people have suffered for decades, and it's the government's fault.
  8. bluebell

    bluebell Guest

    Unfortunately, the government has broad latitude for decisions about where to allocate resources, etc. etc. The standard would not be negligence, nor even idiocy. Unless Congress passes a law allowing such a suit (which, you know, is really unlikely), this is basically a non-starter. Bummer, but there it is. You might get Reeves if you could show that be benefited financially in some way (committed a crime), but - probably not worth the effort.

    P.S. One of the interesting things about the vaccine cases that were allowed to stay in regular federal court: at least one was a Thermasol case. The plaintiffs managed to stay out of the vaccine court because they argued that it was not the vaccine itself, but the preservative (Thermasol) that was unsafe. Therefore, the case was not actually about the safety of the *vaccine*. I imagine a similar argument could be made for cell lines that might have contained XMRV.

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