In the past, Hepatitis C was a major infection that could put an end to your life. Today, it is treatable, with a range of new drugs and treatments available.
Yet, contracting this virus is not something to shrug at. It can cause a number of adverse effects, not to mention a major drain on your wellbeing. While this can be avoided in most cases, if you encounter the virus through medical malpractice, such as a blood transfusion, it is important to seek a lawyer experienced making medical negligence claims.
What are the impacts of Hepatitis C?
The hepatitis C virus is spread through blood-to-blood contact. Once an infection takes hold, it leads to the inflammation of the liver. Research shows that the virus does not kill liver cells directly, instead, the immune system's response to the presence of the virus can cause liver inflammation and cell death.
In Australia, there are over 230,000 people with chronic hepatitis C infections as of 2014, the Kirby Institute reported. While the diagnosis rate has declined by almost a quarter over the previous 10 years – down from 61 per 100,000 to 46 per 100,000 – the number of people with severe liver disease or hepatitis C related cirrhosis has doubled from 18,580 in 2005 to 44,730 in 2014.
The critical disease can be treated through a new generation of antiviral medications. However, these cost money, which is why you need a medical negligence lawyer to help make a claim.
Government looking to increase visibility
As the virus can cause serious damage to a person's health, the government is investing money into wider testing. Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick announced that the government would be injecting over $500,000 into the testing process so that more people can access the state-of-the-art FibroScan technology.
The technology offers doctors a safe, easy and non-invasive method to effectively identify liver damage. This is essential for treatment, as medical professionals need to understand the state of a patient's liver before treatment can be prescribed.
The government is also committed to raising awareness, with a campaign that will include social media and other forms of advertising.
'[We] have a strong focus on addressing the stigma associated with hepatitis C," said Mr Dick. "A lot of people think that it's only a disease that affects those who have injected drugs."
''The health of our community is everyone's business and I'd encourage Queenslanders to speak to their doctor about hepatitis C, because treatment is now simple and effective.''
If you are unaware of the damage of Hepatitis C, it is important to seek medical and legal advice. For the latter, contact Gerard Malouf and Partners today.