More than three decades after a blood transfusion gave him two devastating illnesses, LaSalle’s Jim Moauro is appealing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “do the right thing” for hundreds of victims like him.
Trudeau’s father, Pierre, was prime minister when they were given tainted blood in the early 1980s.
“I think it’s fitting his son clean up his legacy,” said Moauro, 67, a mild hemophiliac who contracted both HIV and hepatitis C after taking a spill during a company picnic wheelbarrow race on Boblo Island in 1983. He went to hospital for treatment and ended up getting a blood transfusion that infected him with the two destructive viruses.
By the time he was diagnosed seven years later, he’d already passed HIV to his wife Donna, who died from HIV-related complications a few years later.
Moauro gives credit for his survival to Dr. Jeff Cohen, the medical director at Windsor Regional Hospital’s HIV care program.
Moauro has written Trudeau, federal Health Minister Jane Philpott and every MP in the country seeking federal compensation for Canadians sickened by the blood supply prior to 1986. They were not covered by the large government-supported settlement for victims infected between 1986 and 1990.
Instead, the early victims made claims against the Red Cross, which was forced to seek bankruptcy protection as the tainted blood scandal gained national prominence. Because there were more claims than money, these victims received about 25 per cent of what they were entitled to, according to Moauro, who originally sued with five other victims. He was supposed to receive more than $3 million, but ended up getting less than $1 million.
Almost all the money he received is now gone and he only has $40,000 in savings, Moauro said.