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BLOOD BANK TOLD TO PAY $800,000 IN AIDS CASE

A jury has ordered a Dallas blood bank to pay $800,000 to the family of a man who died from an AIDS-related illness after receiving a blood transfusion eight years ago.

The man's 65-year-old wife, who contracted AIDS from her husband, will receive more than half of the award. The woman, who asked that her name and hometown not be published, is expected to die within four years, according to a physician's testimony.After the jury delivered its verdict against the Wadley Blood Bank this week, the woman said she was relieved that her two-year court battle was over.

"I am very pleased they found for us, and I think the amount that gave us was certainly fair," she said, wiping away tears.

Wadley officials said they would seek to have the decision set aside.

The jury deliberated about 11 hours before finding the blood bank negligent for not adequately screening donors in 1983. Wadley provides blood to 70 medical facilities in Dallas County and six other counties.

A blood test to detect the presence of the AIDS-causing human immmunodeficiency virus was not used by all blood banks until 1985. But many blood banks screened out donors from high-risk groups.

Testimony during the weeklong trial showed blood given to the woman's husband during open-heart surgery in April 1983 had been donated by a gay man who was never asked if he belonged to a high-risk group.

Nearly four years later, the woman's husband tested positive for the AIDS virus and died shortly thereafter, at age 63, of AIDS-related pneumonia. Later in 1987, his wife tested positive for the AIDS virus.