The Normal Heart, 10,000 Hemophiliacs and the 33rd Anniversary of AIDS Discovery

I spent 6 years of my 32 year career as a trial lawyer working on two cases involving hemophiliacs that died from HIV infected clotting concentrate. One case went to trial in Worcester; the story of a courageous young man, Bill Modestino and his marvelous family.  The other, the story of Will Demers, a talented boy who played the National Anthem on trumpet at Fenway Park and once did a play with Paul Newman at the Hole in The Wall Camp. A link to the story about the Modestino trial is attached below. During that trial, we obtained a jury verdict in which the jury acknowledged that patients and their parents were not adequately informed about the risk of death after the CDC warnings of 1981 and 1982.

June 5th, 2014 will be the 33rd anniversary of the discovery of what later became known as AIDS. There has been much discussion recently about what is still a worldwide epidemic with the HBO film that aired this weekend. The story of the blight and devastation experienced by the gay community is well known and  cannot be told enough. On the other hand, the story of what happened to over 10,000 hemophiliacs infected by blood products that were manufactured with blood supplied by thousands of donors remains largely untold. And so many of these hemophiliacs were infected as children. They were not told the truth and they were being killed by the very products that they believed were giving them a better life.

I understand that the Committee of Ten Thousand is working on the creation of a Memorial, perhaps to be located in San Francisco as a tribute to the ten thousand. From my perspective that is not enough. I got to know many of these people and their families. Their story should be told and they cannot be forgotten.

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