Infected blood products, 56-year-old “surprisingly” wins the case

You can only try to “even” a battle for as long as possible, thanks to treatment and a lifestyle calibrated to the milligram, avoiding fat, excesses (or even small exceptions to the rule) and stress. It is the one with chronic hepatitis, which has severely affected Mario (we will call him that, with an imaginary name) since shortly after birth, compromising the quality of his existence, without granting him the possibility of a definitive recovery.

Another, however, less long and vital but still important on both an economic and principle level, the 56 year old from Parma has just won, not without difficulty, against the Ministry of Health which recognized his reasons, but for a question of time denied him the possibility of asserting them.

And yet in the end he was the one who prevailed, achieving a success that goes beyond his own case. Because “this – as underlined by the lawyers Marcello Gianini and Maria Cristina Baldassari, alongside Mario since 2018 – is a sentence that restores hope to many people who experience the same difficult situation as our client”.

For decades, hepatitis consumed the patient in the shadows: Mario could not understand what prevented him from being like the others. For a long time the pathology had remained silent, while he no longer gave much weight to the symptoms that had always accompanied him, causing him problems in study, at work and in his social life and romantic relationships. Because Mario has always been ill, after being infected a few weeks after birth with a transfusion of infected human albumin. Only in 2006 was hepatitis diagnosed: but how he could have contracted it remained a mystery to him.

It was in 2013 that the worker put the pieces back together by dealing with a union. «Have you ever had a transfusion?» he was asked. Searching through the family documents, Mario found (a miracle that he still had them) the medical records which attested that the blood product had been administered to him shortly after his birth.

Armed with his medical records, Mario sued, and the medical commission admitted that his infection had occurred in hospital. But often he goes from being right to having his rights recognized. Too much time had passed – according to those who denied him any compensation – since 2006, the year of his diagnosis, for him to be granted the “economic recognition” provided for by law 210 of 1992.

In reality, as Gianini recalls, “the Court of Cassation has established that the countdown of three years before the case expires is triggered not when the pathology becomes known, but when it is understood how it was contracted”. Mario had discovered the reason for the infection in 2013 and a few months later he had started the case (before that, how would he have known who to blame?).

“So, to ask for compensation we turned to the labor judge of Bologna, the holder of these cases for our region – continue the two lawyers – and the State Attorney’s Office was unable to defend the ministerial position”. The matter ended with Mario being awarded a bimonthly allowance of 1,700 euros and 110,000 euros in arrears since the fateful 2013. In reality, the sentence was the penultimate stage in the 56-year-old’s judicial journey. To force the ministry to pay, the patient (twice, given the time needed to get justice) also had to ask for a compliance ruling from the TAR. The ministry will also be required to pay the costs of both the first instance and the appeal to the TAR.

Roberto Longoni

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