Friday, May 18, 2007

NOT St. Vic!

Kelly Duda is the producer and director of a new documentary that will run in the Little Rock film festival, Factor 8. It deals with the tainted blood scandal in the Arkansas state prison system. It is an old story that Mara Leveritt reported on back in the 1980's. I interviewed Kelly a week ago and it's a good segment you can hear on

Over the years, a lot can happen and a lot can be forgotten. One would have presumed that, once the story was exposed, it would be stopped and there would be no more story. Alas, that's not how things work.

Kelly sent me a note drawing some of the newer issues into focus. He makes chilling mention of our Second District Congressman, Vic Snyder, who is both a physician and an attorney. Here is part of Kelly's note.

she did not know about Canada or where any of this blood was going. Nothing had been traced back to Cummins at that time... She did not report about the failed international recalls in the early 1980s, the FDA shutdown of the program, the revocation of the center's license, the restart of the program six months later .... She did posess/cite FDA investigation or CDC documents from the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Mara also did not report about HMA, the group that was contracting with the prison system at the time when all the major problems in the 80s happened. Nor did she talk about Gov. Bill Clinton (and all the governor's men) or Vic Snyder and their links to the goings on at the ADC. Nor of the problems in 1960s with Dr. Stough and when the plasma program he started there. ... Hers was a cautionary tale, a warning. (And I wished the state had listened.) However, there was NO public scandal at that time. Mine was/is the full account of what occurred.

Here is some more from an earlier letter. It is fairly astounding that the consequences of such a dumb idea are still evident.

Last fall, F8 had its European premiere in London at the Raindance Film Festival. UK victims were so outraged by the film that they demonstrated against Mr. Clinton's visit to Glasgow (see article). Testimony began for a public inquiry into UK's tainted blood scandal this month (see article below).... I am told that I may be asked to testify at the inquiry.

In the last year, I have been successful in helping tainted blood victims in Canada receive a 1B compensation package from their federal government, assisting victims in Japan win three landmark class-action lawsuits over hepatitis infections, and assisting the efforts of UK victims of contaminated blood get an inquiry there. All received tainted blood and blood products from Arkansas prisons.

When Arkansans hear about this story they are floored, and always ask "WHY haven't I heard about this before?"

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