Train driver died of CJD after hormone treatment

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A FATHER-OF-TWO died of an incurable brain disease after receiving growth hormone treatment when he was a child.

Daniel Sands, of Battle Road, St Leonards, passed away on March 23 last year, aged only 39, after succumbing to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).

An inquest on Wednesday heard the train driver received regular growth hormone treatment through injections from 1978 when he was six years old, due to being deficient in it.

The hearing heard the growth hormone Mr Sands received was contaminated and, as a result, he developed the brain disease.

Mr Sands was diagnosed with CJD in November 2010 on his son’s 13th birthday.

His widow, Julie, said she noticed there was something wrong with Mr Sands’ balance a few months before he died and he started getting confused.

She said: “In August 2010 we were on holiday in the New Forest and his driving had become erratic.

“I knew something was not right and we went to the doctor when we returned home. She diagnosed him with Meniere’s disease, which affects the inner ear and balance.”

But Mr Sands’ deteriorated rapidly and last February the couple, who were married for almost 15 years, decided to renew their wedding vows.

They planned to go on a second honeymoon but he died six weeks later.

Mr Sands and his family were told in October 1992 by doctors that there was a possibility he may develop CJD because of contaminated growth hormone.

Between 1958 and 1985, 1,900 youngsters were injected with the hormone, which was taken from the pituitary glands of corpses. But since 1986, because of concerns about the transmission of CJD, all supplies of human growth hormone started being manufactured using artificial techniques.

Coroner Alan Craze cited the 2004 inquest into the death of 33-year-old Barry Metcalf, who died of CJD as a result of growth hormone treatment he received as a child.

He echoed the words of Nottinghamshire coroner Dr Nigel Chapman who said there were probably many other cases of adults developing CJD in this way, saying they were a ‘time bomb waiting to explode’.

Mrs Sands said she and the rest of her late husband’s family will be getting compensation at a later date, due to his death.

She said: “I would rather have my husband back. This has put us through hell and back.

“It’s been absolutely horrendous and devastated the whole family. Our daughter gave birth to a baby boy six months ago so Daniel would have been a grandad.”

Mr Craze recorded a narrative verdict, saying Mr Sands’ death was caused by iatrogenic CJD, as a result of receiving contaminated human growth hormone.