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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

 


Anger on ruling not to prosecute Irish doctors.
Author(s): Birchard, Karen
Source: Lancet; 11/01/97, Vol. 350 Issue 9087, p1308, 1/3p
Document Type: Article
Subject(s): HEPATITIS
Geographic Term(s): IRELAND
Abstract: Criticizes the decision by Ireland's Director of Public
Prosecutions not to take legal action against the doctors and other
former medical staff named as being negligent in the Hepatitis-C virus
(Hepatitis C Virus) Infected Blood Products problem. The number of people infected
with the virus; The action of the members of Positive Action who
represent those infected with Hepatitis C Virus.
Full Text Word Count: 358
ISSN: 0099-5355
Accession Number: 9711063449
 
Persistent Link to this Article:
http://search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=9711063449&db=hch
 
Cut and Paste: <A
href="http://search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=9711063449&db=hch">Anger on
ruling not to prosecute Irish doctors.</A>
 
Database: Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition
Section POLICY AND PEOPLE
ANGER ON RULING NOT TO PROSECUTE IRISH DOCTORS

 

 


There has been an angry public reaction to the decision by Ireland's
Director of Public Prosecutions not to take legal action against the
doctors and other former medical staff who were named as being negligent
by the Tribunal into Hepatitis-C-Infected Blood Products earlier this
year. More than 1600 people had been infected with hepatitis-C virus
(Hepatitis C Virus) at the time of the Tribunal.

Although the decision not to prosecute was taken in early October, it
did not become known publicly until Oct 22. Traditionally, the
independent DPP makes no statement explaining decisions but legal
experts said the law on criminal negligence causing death is outdated
and does not allow for charges to be brought because of the "statutory
day and a year" section. In other words, the victim of criminal
negligence must die within a year and a day of the negligent action
meaning the long incubation and treatment time of people with Hepatitis C Virus before
diagnosis and death negates any chance of charges under that statute.

The government has pledged a review of the law following the DPP's
decision not to prosecute but any changes will apply only to the future
and cannot be used retrospectively. And although the government enacted
the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act earlier this year, in
response to attacks where a dirty syringe is the weapon, it too only
applies after its enactment and not to actions before it became law.

Members of Positive Action, the group representing those people who
received Hepatitis C Virus-contaminated anti-RhD blood products, said they were
"shocked, hurt and bitterly disappointed" by the failure to prosecute.
Jane O'Brien, chair of Positive Action, said it was unbelievable and
totally unacceptable that people responsible for the greatest health
scandal in the history of the country "can now, it appears, escape being
held publicly accountable for their actions".

Positive Action said it is pursuing legal advice that there may be other
ways to bring about a prosecution. The Attorney General has also
indicated that he is meeting with the DPP soon.

 




~~~~~~~~

By Karen Birchard

  _____ 

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Source: Lancet, 11/01/97, Vol. 350 Issue 9087, p1308, 1p
Item: 9711063449
  _____