An English university is being sued by former students who were put at risk of contracting dangerous viruses, such as HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, during blood tests carried out on them.
The University of Derby contacted 629 students by post earlier this year to let them know of potential “errors” in blood tests and vaccinations given between September 2005 and October 2013.
The healthcare worker responsible for the tests reportedly re-used syringe barrels incorrectly – though the needle was always switched for new patients.
At least 67 former students are now suing the university for the distress and potential danger the revelations have caused them.
One former student, who wished to remain anonymous, said the letter sent her into a panic. “I started thinking about my partner and whether I may have contracted something and then passed it on to him. I couldn't sleep or concentrate on my studies,” she told a local paper. She was later given the all-clear after a series of tests and a two-week wait.
UK law firm Cohen Cramer, who are representing some of the students, say they are hoping for a positive outcome for those affected. “'Some of these students had these tests eight years ago - they have done a lot of living in that time in terms of relationships and having children,” said the firm’s spokesman Mike Massen.
According to the university, the risk of the students contracting anything is extremely low and all students were contacted as a precautionary measure. “That does not negate the anxiety and stress that these people have suffered as a result of the letter dropping through their door,” Massen argued.