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Krever to cite misconduct in tainted blood case

A new disease was threatening the Canadian blood supply in the early 1980s: AIDS. But the Canadian Red Cross was slow to introduce donor screening methods and even slower to test the blood. With the Krever Commission, those infected by the AIDS virus and hepatitis C found a compassionate ear and the answers they sought about who was to blame for this public health scandal.

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"They buried my friends, and now they're trying to bury the truth," says Ontario hemophiliac James Krepner, responding to news that the story of Canada's tainted blood disaster may never come out. Last month, Justice Krever served notice that some of his findings would amount to an accusation of misconduct on the part of various individuals and organizations. Now, according to this CBC News report, Krever's report could be delayed months or even years.

Forty organizations question whether Krever has interpreted his mandate correctly, saying Commission lawyers behaved more like prosecutors. They're concerned any blame from Krever could mean lawsuits or criminal charges. But after years of waiting, the Canadian Hemophilia Society says there's no way the findings should be limited.
• When he was appointed to head the commission, Krever's duty was "to review and report on the mandate, organization, management, operations, financing and regulation of all activities of the blood system in Canada, including the events surrounding the contamination of the blood system in Canada in the early 1980s." He was also charged with submitting a final report "with recommendations on an efficient and effective blood system in Canada for the future."

• As directed, Krever submitted an interim report on Feb. 15, 1995. Among its many recommendations was the adoption of a new test for hepatitis C, regular inspections of blood centres by the Bureau of Biologics, and monitoring of how doctors were using blood components. It also recommended the introduction of an autologous donation program -- a system by which people bank their own blood in advance of scheduled surgery.

• Under the Inquiries Act, Krever had a responsibility to notify in advance anyone whose actions, as described in his final report, could be construed as misconduct. The Supreme Court of Canada said misconduct included "improper or unprofessional behaviour" or "bad management."
• On Dec. 21, 1995, Krever gave such notice to 95 individuals, organizations and governments.

• Among those who received notice from Krever were nine provincial governments and four former B.C. ministers of health. Four drug companies and some individuals who were their senior officials at the time were also warned that Krever's report might find them guilty of misconduct.

• The Krever Commission heard from a total of 474 people in 274 days of hearings. Another 89 organizations and people sent written submissions and over 300 people called a designated phone line to speak with Krever or his staff.
• Witness testimony and submissions added up to about 50,000 pages of transcript.
• About 175,000 documents totalling between 800,000 and one million pages were collected and catalogued during the inquiry.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Jan. 24, 1996
Guest(s): James Kreppner, Donald Rennie
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Brenda Craig
Duration: 2:45

Last updated: June 8, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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