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A double standard? Disease v injury
  1. I B Pless, Editor

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    During the spring of 1998, after lengthy investigation and frequent discussions among federal and provincial health ministers, the Minister of Health announced a decision to financially compensate Canadians who had become infected with hepatitis C after 1986. Why 1986? This date was chosen because it was only subsequent to 1986 that the blood banking system had a proven method of screening, and thus, presumably, preventing hepatitis C being contracted through blood transfusions. The reasons for not adopting the screening procedure immediately after that date remain unclear. Nevertheless, the decision to compensate was an admission by government that it had an obligation to act once this preventive technique was available.

    I find the logic behind the Health Minister's tough decision persuasive and irresistible on two counts. He has been criticised for not compensating all victims, regardless of when they became infected, but this seems illogical and he continues to resist the persistent pressure to …

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