Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Steve Grissom, Advocate for Compensation for Individuals Who Contracted HIV Through Tainted Blood, Dies
Steve Grissom, a North Carolina man who urged Congress to pay compensation to non-hemophiliacs who contracted HIV through contaminated blood, died Wednesday at the age of 52, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. Grissom was diagnosed with leukemia in 1985 and underwent chemotherapy and blood transfusions to treat the disease. Although he was cured of cancer, he contracted HIV through a tainted blood transfusion (Avery, Raleigh News & Observer, 8/1). In April, Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) introduced a bill (S 2219) that would provide financial compensation to certain individuals who were infected with HIV through blood transfusions or transplants. The bill would establish a fund, called the Steve Grissom Relief Fund, that would provide money to patients or their survivors who had received HIV-tainted transfusions or transplants between July 1982 and the end of 1987. Each recipient would receive $100,000 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/24). Edwards said in a prepared statement that he remembered Grissom "as a selfless and spirited advocate who, to his dying day, worked to make health care in our country better for other people" (Raleigh News & Observer, 8/1). In 1998, Congress passed and President Clinton signed legislation (HR 1023) that provided financial assistance to hemophiliacs who contracted HIV through blood transfusions. But that fund, called the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund, only applied to hemophiliacs and did not extend to non-hemophiliacs who contracted HIV through blood transfusions or organ transplants (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/24).
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