Stanford Social Innovation Review : Informing and inspiring leaders of social change

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Clear Blood

By 1998, thousands of people had contracted HIV and hepatitis C from Canada’s tainted blood supply. To restore the supply and the public’s trust, the federal, provincial, and territorial governments of Canada created a new organization, Canadian Blood Services. Despite the public health tragedy that it inherited, Canadian Blood Services rebuilt Canadians’ faith in the nation’s blood supply by infusing transparency into its structure, culture, and operations

 

In December 1984, 53-year-old Kenneth Pittman underwent coronary bypass surgery in Toronto. During the operation, he received an infusion of cryoprecipitate, a fluffy white protein that helps clot blood. Pittman survived his heart disease and the surgery, but not the infusion: In March 1990, he learned that he had contracted HIV from the cryoprecipitate. He died a few days later. His wife, Rochelle Pittman, did not learn about the diagnosis until three weeks after her husband’s funeral. By June...


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