July 7, 2010

Waiting game over

Lauren Gilchrist

Jul 07, 2010 - 4:35 PM

William Catt, who received hepatitis C during a 1976 blood transfusion, has received his final payment of $1,200 from the Federal government
(PETERBOROUGH) The waiting game is over for William Catt.

After 35 years of living with hepatitis C he has received a final settlement payment of $1,200 from the federal government.

But Mr. Catt says that's just not acceptable considering the virus has ruined his life. Now he has to decide whether he will sign the papers and end more than three decades of trying to fight for what he believes is fair, which he says amounts to more like $80,000. But he doesn't have any fight left in him.

"I'm just so tired of it," he says, from his home in Baileboro.

Mr. Catt was 17 years old when he underwent a blood transfusion at Humber Memorial Hospital. It was 1976 and there was no screening process in place for donated blood. The operation was supposed to help him cope with Crohn's disease, but instead he contracted hepatitis C.

"I went in with crones disease and came out with Crohn's disease and tainted blood," he says.

Now 52 years old and taking some 60 pills a day, Mr. Catt says between the Crohn's and the hepatitis C he hasn't been able to work for the last 25 years. To date he has received a total of $25,000 in compensation from the Canadian Red Cross and $10,000 from KPMG, a company that administers claims relating to hepatitis C pursuant to settlements with the Canadian Red Cross Society. Although he receives disability payments he says the $80,000 he wanted would have helped him out an awful lot.

In 2006, the federal government announced hepatitis C victims who were excluded from the previous compensation package handed out in 1998 will share $1.1 billion in funding. This compensation directly involves Mr. Catt since he is one of the people who contracted the virus before 1986. Payments ranged anywhere from $30,000 to $250,000 depending on the severity ranging from level one to six, with level six being the most severe. Mr. Catt says he was classified as level one, but he tried to have his case classified as a level two, which he says would have entitled him to something around the lines of $80,000. To make matters worse, Mr. Catt says last week a doctor at Toronto Western Hospital told him he no longer has hepatitis C, a claim he doesn't believe.

Mr. Catt says at $35,000 he hasn't received his fair share. He says if he had received the $80,000 he would have turned around and given back the Red Cross $25,000. He says the federal government has let him down.

"I'm going to settle for the $1,200. I don't want to do that, I want the $80,000 I requested," he says.

"It's getting too much on me."


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