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Infected blood scandal has taken its toll on Highland family, inquiry is told

By Val Sweeney

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Christine Norval has spoken at the public inquiry into the infected blood scandal.
Christine Norval has spoken at the public inquiry into the infected blood scandal.

The wife of a victim in the contaminated blood scandal considered taking her own life, a public inquiry has heard.

Prominent campaigner Bruce Norval, of the Black Isle, was among the thousands infected with hepatitis C via tainted blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

His wife Christine today spoke movingly and frankly about the devastating toll his ill health and relentless quest in search of the truth has had on her life and those of her daughter and son when she addressed the UK-wide infected blood inquiry in Edinburgh.

Mrs Noval (51) said by the late 1990s and early 2000s she and her husband were struggling with mental health issues.

"Bruce was so poorly and so ill all the time," said Mrs Norval, who had become the main breadwinner as a physiotherapist.

"I had two young children. My son didn't sleep. We were all sleep deprived."

She recalled contemplating suicide, but the thought of her two young children and speaking to her husband changed her mind.

After seeing her GP, she was prescribed anti-depressants and started counselling. The couple also separated for a while.

The couple, who have been married 28 years, first met in London while they were working as agency nurses.

Mr Norval told her he had haemophilia but at the time he did not know he had been infected with hepatitis although he was aware of being unwell.

Mrs Norval said he suffered nausea and fatigue although doctors told him it was all in his head.

Her husband did not learn that he had the virus until 1990, the same year their daughter was born, and became very concerned about the risk to the baby.

Mrs Norval also spoke about how her husband's ill health had a financial toll and at one point they were threatened with eviction from their council house over unpaid rent.

The inquiry, headed by Sir Brian Langstaff, is in Scotland for two weeks. It is the UK's biggest inquiry.

An earlier public inquiry into contaminated blood products in Scotland was labelled a "whitewash" by victims.

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