CRY BLOODY MURDER by Elaine DePrince

CRY BLOODY MURDER

A Tale of Tainted Blood
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 With estimable dignity, a mother recounts the horrendous tragedy her family suffered when, due to the scandalous indifference of certain pharmaceutical companies, the medicines her sons used became deadly poisons. This modern horror narrative is all the more shocking because every word is true. With simple eloquence and understandable anger, but never indulging in morbid self-pity, DePrince tells of her five sons (three adopted), all of whom suffered from hemophilia. For years, the DePrince children's painful internal hemorrhaging was controlled with clotting factor, a medication distilled from the pooled blood of thousands of donors. In the early 1980s, HIV from some donors contaminated clotting factor, converting into a lethal toxin the very medicine that had freed families from the scourge of hemophilia. As a result, an estimated 8,000 hemophiliacs and many spouses of hemophiliacs, not to mention many recipients of blood transfusions, became infected with HIV. Two of the DePrince children, Cubby and Mike, died from AIDS. DePrince describes such moving and profound scenes as 11-year-old Cubby stoically preparing for death, comforting his grieving family and friends, and keeping a journal of his thoughts as life painfully slips away. Ably interweaving her personal tale with the medical story of how clotting factor was developed, DePrince informs us as well of the most horrific aspect of the catastrophe: A process developed in Germany to inactivate hepatitis in clotting factor also proved effective in destroying HIV, but it was passed up by various American pharmaceutical companies in favor of a cheaper method that left HIV intact. The author details the legal actions she and others have taken to obtain justice for the thousands of needless deaths. While inspiring the reader through the DePrince family's saga of fortitude, Cry Bloody Murder presents as well an effective, concise introduction to the science, business, and legal issues defining the hemophilia/HIV catastrophe.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-679-45676-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997