Judy Kenny, whose husband was the first to die from vCJD contracted via a blood transfusion, is campaigning for tighter controls over the procedure
When Judy Kenny was admitted to hospital for a hip replacement two years ago, she made a point of telling staff to give her a blood transfusion only if it was a matter of life and death. The nurses were surprised; Judy was merely signing the routine surgical consent form. No one had even mentioned a transfusion – so why the fuss?
But Judy, 65, has reason to be wary of blood transfusions. Her husband Deryck was the first person in the world to be recorded as dying of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) contracted via a blood transfusion, given during surgery for prostate cancer seven years earlier. This degenerative, invariably fatal brain condition, linked with eating infected beef, was at the time rarely out of the headlines.
A former Royal Marine, Deryck changed from being cheerful and gregarious to withdrawn and introverted. Thought at the time to have rapid-onset dementia – the real cause was discovered only after an autopsy – he was just 69 when he died, in 2003.
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