Son fighting for mother's medical records as he claims transfusion gave her Hepatitis B and C

Mark Lawler with his mum Margaret
-Credit: (Image: Mark Lawler)


The son of a woman who is believed to have been infected with Hepatitis B and C after a blood transfusion has condemned her treatment at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. Mark Lawler's mum, Margaret Lawler, became ill after a blood transfusion following the birth of Mark's older brother in 1977.

According to Mark, she was diagnosed with Hepatitis B in the 1980s or early 1990s, and was later told by a doctor at Addenbrooke's: "It turns out that, when we infected you with Hepatitis B, we also gave you Hepatitis C."

However, Margaret was informed in 2000 that she did not have Hepatitis C, and in 2016 that the Hepatitis B infection had been cleared.

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Mark believes his mum continued to live with both of the infections, despite what she was told, and that they contributed to her death aged 63 in 2019. He said in a statement to the infected blood inquiry: "Having watched documentaries about infected blood, it seems that lots of people received that letter [saying they did not have Hepatitis C].

"I personally believe that people’s medical records could easily have had the line about the virus being cleared, added at a later date, in order to make themselves less liable."

Mark said his mum was given no follow-up appointments or offers of treatment for Hepatitis C, and was never given advice about the risk of transmission for either of the illnesses.

His statement continued: "There would have been no other source of infection for the Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C other than the blood transfusion given to my mother following the birth of my brother in 1977.

Mark described his mum as his "best friend"
Mark described his mum as his 'best friend' -Credit:Mark Lawler

"In confirmation of this, medical patient discharge letters from Addenbrooke’s Hospital dated 26 November 2011 and 11 January 2016 state that my mother received the infection post transfusion during childbirth."

Margaret suffered with cirrhosis of the liver, COPD, bladder incontinence, abdominal pain, hernias, heart disease and other illnesses throughout her life. Mark believes the Hepatitis B and C started a "domino effect" that contributed to these issues, and to Margaret's overall poor health.

The Infected Blood Inquiry report, published on Monday (May 20), described a "catalogue of failures" leading to more than 3,000 deaths. This "calamity" led those infected and affected - such as family members like Mark - to suffer in almost every aspect of their lives, the report states.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described "a day of shame for the British state" and offered a "wholehearted and unequivocal apology" to victims.

Speaking to CambridgeshireLive, Mark commented on the struggles he had met with while attempting to get information about his mother's health after her death. He said: "My mum was my best friend. I mopped her brow in a hospital bed while she was dying.

"I have tried to get to her medical records but the hospital [Addenbrooke's] only gives you what is deemed ‘relevant’.

"They sent 23 pages from the hospital to do with her 63 years on this planet. She had major operation after major operation. I think it is relevant I get everything.

"It is frustrating because I don’t think it is the end for me. I think I have still got to fight.

"I should have had an email from the NHS giving me full access to my mother’s medical records, after the inquiry report. Will I get them? Probably not.

"If there was nothing to hide, they would have released mum’s medical records, as far as I am concerned."

A spokesperson for Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Addenbrooke's Hospital, said: "We are sorry to hear about Mark Lawler’s concerns. Although we cannot discuss details of cases publicly, we would be very happy to meet with him to discuss the full and accurate facts of his mother’s records and answer any questions."

In response, Mark said: "I am not sure whether meeting in person will change anything."