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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