Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Woman died after contracting Hepatitis C from blood transfusion

12:48 11 April 2014

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

Archant

Coroner rules the act which was designed to save 67-year-old Barnstaple woman’s life ended in her death 30 years later.

A BLOOD transfusion given to a Barnstaple woman to save her was ‘the act which ended her life’ after she contracted Hepatitis C, a coroner has ruled.

Wendy Huxtable, 67, of Green Bank Road, died on May 29, 2013 from end stage liver failure caused by the virus 30 years after she contracted it.

The inquest heard the mother-of-two was given six pints of blood during emergency surgery after she suffered a miscarriage with her third child in August 1983.

After the operation she discovered she had contracted Hepatitis C but did not display any symptoms for much of her life until April 2013 when she ‘began to go downhill’.

During March and April last year she became ‘quite confused’ and on May 29 she was admitted to North Devon District Hospital where she later died.

A statement from Dr Patricia Hewitt, a consultant for the National Blood and Transplant Service, said the virus was only discovered in 1987.

“During the second half of 1989 and the 1990s screening was brought into use prior to use in blood transfusion,” she said.

“Before that time, there were no tests available which could detect Hepatitis C.”

A donor notice from 1985 stated those donating blood should say if they had ‘suffered jaundice or Hepatitis, or been in contact with Hepatitis, in the last six months’.

However, as Hepatitis C often has no symptoms and was not at that time recognised, it was likely many blood donors did not realise they were infected at the time.

Paying tribute to Mrs Huxtable in a statement read at the inquest, her husband Gordon Huxtable said she had been his carer after he suffered a heart attack.

“We were married in 1969 and lived in Barnstaple,” he said.

“My wife was fit and mobile; she was the life and soul of the party. She often helped at the community centre with the majorettes.”

Mr Huxtable said the couple fostered children – often up to five at a time – and his wife would look after them as he travelled a lot during the week.

Deputy coroner John Tomalin said he felt the correct verdict to deliver in this case was one of misadventure.

He said: “I cannot see what else the doctors could have done in 1983 to save her life.

“What they did, I believe, was in good faith and to the best of their knowledge and understanding at the time.

“It wasn’t known that the blood was infected with Hepatitis C – the act that was designed to help save her life unwittingly, unexpectedly and unintentionally ended her life.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

The new tourism and lifestyle building at Petroc.

A festival of learning at Petroc will highlight part-time courses and give people a chance to see the new building before it opens in September.

Read more
09:00
Pecocks will be opening at Atlantic Village next week.

A brand new national clothing store is opening in Bideford this week.

Read more
Torrington Pool.

The day full of free events aims to encourage people of all ages to stay fit and active with taster sessions.

Read more
09:00
North Devon Magistrates' Court.

The 47-year-old admitted what he said was ‘terrible’ and has cut back on his drinking ‘drastically’ since incident.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:00
Scott receiving his award from former mayor Phil Pester. Picture: Graham Hobbs

Scott Craner was nominated for the award by former mayor Councillor Phil Pester.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:30
North Devon Magistrates' Court.

Torrington man pleaded guilty to drink driving as well as failing to provide a specimin in two separate incidents, court hears.

Read more
Friday, June 24, 2016
The North Devon Link Road.

Expect disruption from Monday to Wednesday as surfacing work is carried out

Read more
Friday, June 24, 2016
Will the green bin collection remain a free service?

And black wheelie bin could be collected every three weeks instead of two

Read more
Friday, June 24, 2016
Year 8 pupils at Pilton held a mock referendum on polling day

Pupils at Pilton Community College staged their own referendum yesterday.

Read more
Friday, June 24, 2016
UKIP chairman Steve Crowther. Picture: Tony Gussin

North Devon’s Steve Crowther says the party has won its biggest battle, but there is more work to come

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications