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Blood Feuds: AIDS, Blood, and the Politics of Medical Disaster

ISBN: 9780195131604
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Edition: 1
Publication Date: 1999-03-15
Number of pages: 375
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Description


In the mid-1980s public health officials in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia discovered that almost half of the hemophiliac population, as well as tens of thousands of blood transfusion recipients, had been infected with HIV-tainted blood. This book provides a comparative perspective on the political, legal, and social struggles that emerged in response to the HIV contamination of the industrialized worlds blood supply. It describes how eight nations responded to the first signs that AIDS might be transmitted through blood, and how they falteringly arrived at and finally implemented measures to secure the blood supply. The authors detail the remarkable saga of the mobilization of hemophiliacs who challenged the state, the medical establishment, and even their own caregivers as they sought recompense and justice. In the end, the blood establishments in almost every advanced industrial nation were shaken. In Canada, the Red Cross was forced to withdraw from blood collection and distribution. In Japan, pharmaceutical firms that manufactured clotting factor agreed to massive compensation -- $500,000 per hemophiliac infected. In France, blood officials went to prison. Even in Denmark, where the number of infected hemophiliacs was relatively small, the struggle and litigation surrounding blood has resulted in the most protracted legal and administrative conflict in modern Danish history. Blood Feuds brings together chapters on the experiences of the United States, Japan, France, Canada, Germany, Denmark, Italy, and Australia with four comparative essays that shed light on the cultural, institutional, and economic dimensions of the HIV/blood disaster.

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