Cry Bloody Murder, by Elaine DePrince, is a true story about love, loss, and the effect AIDS can have on a community. Elaine DePrince, her husband, and her five sons (two biological, three adopted) are a family of hemophiliacs. Their three adopted sons, Cubby, Mike, and Teddy, had hemophilia A. DePrince and her biological sons, Adam and Erik, have a less well-known, yet similar, condition known as von Willebrand's disease. Hemophilia and von Willebrand's disease are conditions in which one's blood cannot clot. In order to prevent them from bleeding to death, DePrince needed to give her sons clotting factor, which would help their blood to clot when they experienced bleeding. However, DePrince was unaware that the clotting factor she gave her children contained the virus HIV--she only found this out after Cubby, Mike, and Teddy had all been affected. The clotting factor, and other blood products--could have been virally inactivated, killing HIV and other viruses in them--but the multi-million dollar corporations making the blood products didn't bother to do this. And as a result, thousands of hemophiliacs and others died, including Cubby and Mike. Cubby was only eleven. Mike was only fifteen. And what makes Elaine DePrince angriest is that their deaths could have easily been prevented, if only an industry cared more about the lives of its consumers than about its profits.
Teddy is still living, thanks to the new drugs available, but DePrince knows that, if not for the drugs, he could have died as well.
Thousands of hemophiliacs have suffered in this way, thousands have lost loved ones. But they cannot get compensation. In many states, so-called "blood-shield laws" have been passed, protecting the product responsible for all these deaths from strict product liability, a legal term allowing a consumer injured by a product to file suit against the manufacturer or seller of the product. As a result, the corporations and the blood banks don't have to pay for what they have done, and the hemophiliacs must suffer on with the ghosts of their siblings, parents, friends, spouses, and children.
This was a wonderful book, but it was also very sad. I would recommend it to anyone interested in AIDS or in hemophilia. The stories pictured in this book, Cubby's and Mike's, as well as those of others with the virus, will inspire you and at the same time, fill you with sorrow, that such wonderful lives had to be lost.