Father injects son with HIV

Father injects son with HIV
Published: 2016 October 20 23:08:26 (12261 Views)
A man allegedly injected his infant son with a syringe full of HIV-infected blood and hoped he'd never see him grow up.

24-year-old Brryan Jackson's mother and father met at a military training facility in Missouri, where they were both training as medics. They moved in together and five months later - in mid-1991 - his mother was pregnant.

"When I was first born my father was really excited, but everything changed when he went away for Operation Desert Storm. He came back from Saudi Arabia with a completely different attitude towards me," Jackson says.

Stewart began denying Jackson was his child, demanding DNA tests as proof of paternity, and became verbally and physically abusive towards Jackson's mother.

When she finally left him, the couple fought bitterly over child support payments, which Stewart refused to pay.

During their fights he would make sinister threats, Jackson says. "He used to say things like, 'Your child's not going to live beyond the age of five,' and 'When I leave you I'm not going to leave any ties behind.'"

Meanwhile Stewart, who had found work as a blood tester in a laboratory, had begun secretly taking samples of infected blood to store at home, investigators later discovered.

"He used to joke around with colleagues saying, 'If I wanted to infect someone with one of these viruses they'd never even know what hit them,'" Jackson says.

By the time Jackson was 11 months old, his mother and father had all but lost contact. But when Jackson was hospitalised following an asthma attack, his mother picked up the phone.

"My mother called my father to let him know - she assumed he'd want to know his son was sick. When she called, his colleagues said, 'Bryan Stewart doesn't have a kid.'"

The day Jackson was due to be discharged, Stewart paid an unexpected visit to the hospital.

"He wasn't a very active father so everyone thought it was strange when he showed up," Jackson says.

"He sent my Mum down to the cafeteria to get a drink so he was alone with me."

When the coast was clear, Stewart took out a vial of HIV-tainted blood and injected it into his son.

"He was hoping I would die off so he wouldn't have to pay child support," Jackson says.

His mother returned to find him screaming in his father's arms. "My vital signs were all out of whack because it wasn't just HIV blood he had injected me with, it was incompatible with mine."

The doctors were baffled. Oblivious to the virus now coursing through his veins, they restored his pulse, temperature and breathing to normal and sent him home expecting him to live a full and healthy life.

But in the weeks that followed, Jackson's health began to deteriorate and desperate for a diagnosis, for four years Jackson's mother took him for several tests but none of them gave any clue.

One night, after he had been checked for every disease imaginable, his paediatrician woke up from a nightmare and called the hospital to ask them to test for HIV.

"When the test came back, I was diagnosed with full-blown Aids and three opportunistic infections." The doctors came to the conclusion there was no hope of his survival.

"They wanted me to have as normal a life as I could," he says. "So they gave me five months to live and sent me home."

The doctors continued to treat Jackson, though, with every drug available.

He says his entire childhood was lived "one day at a time". Staying alive was a high-wire act. "One day I would seem fine, the next hour I would be rushed back to the hospital with another infection," he says.

He was left hearing-impaired as a side-effect of the medication.

But while other children Jackson had met in hospital did not survive, much to the amazement of his doctors, Jackson's health began to improve.

Eventually, he was just about healthy enough to go to school, and started attending lessons part-time with a backpack full of medications fed through an intravenous line.

"The tragedy of my school life was that the school didn't want me. They were scared.

"Back in the 90s people thought back then you could get Aids from a toilet seat. I once read a college textbook that said you could get HIV through eye contact," he says.

To begin with it wasn't the children who were afraid of Jackson, it was their parents. They wouldn't invite him to birthday parties - in fact they wouldn't even invite his half-sister. But as they grew older the children adopted their parents' prejudices.

"They'd call me things like, 'Aids boy, gay boy.' That's when I started to feel isolated and alone. I felt like there was no place in the world for me," he says.

Aged 10 he began to piece the story of his father's crime together, but it took a few more years for the magnitude of what his father had done to hit home.

"At first I was very angry and bitter. I grew up watching movies where fathers cheer on their sons from the sidelines. I couldn't wrap my mind around how my own father could do that to me," he says.

"He didn't just try to kill me, he changed my life forever. He was responsible for the bullying, he was responsible for all the years in hospital. He's the reason I have to be so conscious about my health and what I do."

Source - BBC

Tags: HIV, infection, crime,

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