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« National Autism Association Response to Autism Omnibus Court Decision | Main | The Cedillo Decision »

The Hazlehurst Decision

Big gun By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

There’s a line in the movie, “The Right Stuff” in which an astronaut explains to an engineer the truth about funding by saying, “If there’s no bucks, there’s no Buck Rogers” and subsequently no space program.

The polite fiction maintained by this court is that those questioning vaccine safety have been listened to and substantial financial resources were directed to researching those claims.  Nothing could be further from the truth, and it forms a necessary backdrop to a discussion of the Hazlehurst case. 

Special Master Patricia Campbell-Smith begins by noting that this trial “does not and cannot offer a determinative explanation” for what causes autism.  She then goes onto notes the number of articles submitted and the parade of experts and their qualifications, before finally noting that the government’s witnesses were more persuasive than the witnesses for the families.

But this decision was not inevitable.  Campbell-Smith notes that “when appropriate, medical opinion and circumstantial evidence is enough to prove causation.”  There was abundant medical evidence, including some very powerful testimony from family members and physicians, including a Harvard gastro-enterologist which could have more than sufficed for a favorable decision.

One of the staggering examples of the lack of intellectual curiosity in this case is the question of whether mercury exposure in the young might look and cause significantly different problems than in more adult members of the population.  While Campbell-Smith does an adequate job of recounting some of the petitioner’s theories on the functioning of the immune system, there seems to be little interest in trying to figure out what has gone wrong with these children. 

Campbell-Smith’s willful blindness extends to her discussion of how there is “some evidence of a temporal connection” to the MMR shot received by Yates Hazlehurst and his subsequent deterioration.  She notes it, but doesn’t seem to be able to go any further with it.  Equally indicative of a lack of intellectual rigor is her discussion of Andrew Wakefield’s theories.  At one point she mentions how the theory of measles virus persistence of Dr. Andrew Wakefield “continued to attract scrutiny”, when it was subject to vicious attack from the outset.

In her discussion of whether Yates suffered from immune system problems, she notes his 8 ear infections and treatment with anti-biotics, his normal development, his gastro-intestinal problems, but seems to be dazzled by the parade of the government’s expert witnesses who can offer no other explanation, other than it couldn’t possibly have been the vaccines.

I also find it amazing that certain assertions put forth by the government are not questioned, while straight-forward propositions such as that mercury can affect immune-system function are questioned with the scorn reserved for those who believe 9/11 was an inside job.  The government continually talks about autism “genes” but despite millions of dollar spent in this pursuit still can’t find them.  And when such genes show “an association” is found, a closer observation inevitably shows those genes to be involved in detoxifying the body of harmful substances.

The other day I was staggered to read a press release from Stanford University in which they announced they’d developed a test which might identify those suffering from problems with mitochondrial function.  Their answer was to measure glutathione levels.  That’s something the biomedical community has been doing for years.

The sad truth of the matter is that we are massively out-gunned in terms of research dollars.  The medical personnel who undertake our cause do it knowing full well there will be many defeats.  Judges will be dazzled by experts who claim to know so much, except for the question of what causes autism.

But there is a moral dimension to our cause that they can never match.  I don’t know how long it will take, but we will someday have the answer that even the medical community’s best and brightest fail to provide us.

Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor for Age of Autism.

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All of you, PLEASE Google “Congressional Record – Extension of Remarks May 21st, 2003 – Pages E1027-1030” which is called “Mercury in Medicine Report – Hon. Dan Burton of Indiana in the House of Representatives.” Read it -

Page E1030 Conclusion: THE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE NOTES…

“However, the Committee, upon a thorough review of the scientific literature and internal documents from the government and industry, did find evidence that thimerosal did pose a risk.
Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is likely related to the autism epidemic. This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding the lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal and the sharp rise of infant exposure to this known neurotoxin. Our public health agencies’ failure to act is indicative of institutional malfeasance for self-protection and misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry.”

Please remember that Congress already came to its conclusion that there was something mighty wrong here. We can’t be foolish to allow three Special Masters who serve the same government that mandates the vaccinations to close this matter. Ultimately, we will have to bring our cause in front of a jury, within the eyes of the American public where we will have the openness of discovery procedures and fairness. Just recently look how they are trying to modify the Combat Autism Act so as not to allow continued research in vaccinations – much to hide.

The more you research this issue and understand our American governmental history (WMD comes to mind very quickly), it is very oblivious that our government cannot be trusted to tell the truth. It seems that the only way we will probably learn the truth, will be in an actual court of law and not some “dog and pony show” orchestrated by Special Masters who also work for that same government.

Folks, the gloves are off. Get ready for a fight we can’t lose, nor will lose in behalf of our children. “Don’t Stop - Keep Pushing.”

M -
For “A” and so many Others



Maureen O, you said: "The reality is that eventually autism will touch EVERY family in america and some of these people will work in the pharmateutical industry, CDC, FDA,"

I beg to differ with your assessment. Those within the drug cartels, CDC and FDA already know the damaging effects of vaccines. They do NOT get their children vaccinated. There for they will never know what we do. Our hope lies in members of congress living our lives.

The reality is that eventually autism will touch EVERY family in america and some of these people will work in the pharmateutical industry, CDC, FDA, Congress etc. Then when they see it with their own eyes and their children are also lost in to the world of autism and their friendly pediatric doc soundly treats you like the enemy. Only then will we see the change in public opinion. unfortunately we will by then have lost an entire generation

Please everyone just ask yourself 1 question.
Pharma is fighting for money.
We are fighting for the children and justice.
Who do you really think will win in the end?

Great recap and observation from JB and Kent on these cases. Thank you. I am also happy to hear that none of this nonsense has dampened the will of the parents dealing with autism every day. In fact, I think our collective resolve is stronger than ever. Our doctor recently said that he is of the opinion that the forces against the vaccine-autism link are too strong for there ever to be a "smoking gun" moment that tumbles the house of cards. Rather, he thinks that change will come from an ever increasing number of people who forego the vaccine schedule as recommended. Only then will the goverment be forced to fund the research that supports the finding that the current vaccine schedule plays no part in autism. So, what can we do as lowly parents. Speak with everyone you know about vaccines and autism. Direct them to the research that raises concerns. Make sure they have the knowledge that we wish we all had before blindly accepting shot after shot after shot for our children. This will hopefully lead them to continue to question their doctors or demand that the vaccines be spread out and/or delayed. This continued lack of confidence will hopefully force the powers that be to address this issue. This has to be a grass roots movement. Tell a friend and have them tell a friend and so on and so on and so on. If they claim they read the paper or heard a news report that said there is no link, tell them the story of your own child, of your observations, of what you and your child go through everyday. My bet is that our evidence is more powerful. Keep the faith and don't lose hope.

Great articles , I will be doing my part as I have been telling everyone that I come in contact with that vaccines cause Autism , there is no better way than word of mouth , so much for the special masters ruling it means nothing for autistic children!

Amen, Bob from Nevada. The tone is the key to these verdicts, the intentional will to knock the whole building down to the ground, to try to anihilate any shred of evidence on the side of the autism-vaccine connection. And this vile tone is being picked up, distorted and magnified by mainstream media. The editorial on the verdict by the NY Times today reads like a edict from Pravda, Granma, or any other news outlet from any dictatorial regime that ever existed. Worse still, it reads like a theological dogma rule set by the Inquisition: it exonerates vaccines now and forever, period. Hannah Poling? She never existed.

Who writes these things?? Is it Merck or Pfizer? You call this garbage the epitome of free press in a democracy?? I am flabbergasted. Take that editorial self-righteous tone one single step further and those who still refuse to vaccinate their children would be forced to vaccinate or be sent to exile. Add another step and they would all be marked with the star of David and be shipped to a concentration camp.

Knowing what we know from our kids FIRST HAND, and after following the history of this debate for the last two decades (two long decades already, three for some people) with piling evidence on the connection side; after witnessing the Hannah Poling concession, after personally knowing of so many families with several kids with ASD all of them vaccinated by their antivaxer parents (!!); . After all that, this demonization campaign would be difficult to endure. But endure we will because the harder they try the more obvious it becomes that the have something to hide. Do you think any reasonable parent is going to feel reassured about vaccines by that black-and-white, take-it-or-leave-it NY Times editorial?

I look forward to a day when our government protects our children and acts as quickly as Spain, for example. Two girls hospitalized in Spain, and they recall Gardasil. Almost 30 dead here and thousands of others with adverse effects, but Gardasil is still on the market here, and in fact being pushed by our government.
This last round of decisions has been terrible to witness. Shameful that these children/families are left with no monetary help. But more shameful that the courts have sided with flawed epidemiology - can you even call that science? I don't.

Kent, thanks for your continuing coverage of these cases and today's typically insightful post. this is a long way from over and we look forward to your ongoing analysis. best, dan.

I think this is a great example of why we have juries.

Perhaps the special masters feel that the pharmaceutical companies have acted in a dangerous manner and should be accountable themselfs for thier poisoning of children with mercury.

I would think that beating Big Pharma will be about as hard as it was beating the tobacco industry. Alone, the plaintiff stands very little chance but when a nation stands up with them....

Since the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C is, to be kind, ignorant, maybe the 5,000 cases left to be heard should simply sandbag the proceedings so they can all join a large class action suit.

I actually heard someone say on today on talk radio, "these people are just out to get money, they are looking for easy money", needless to say I pulled over and called in.

It made me think, maybe I should call in every day or two anyway, just to say hi and to remind people that vaccines aren't safe.

Thank you for your articles. We filed our claim about 10 years ago and are very disappointed that mercury is now certified as a health product in our country, if not the world (since we export vaccines). Plus, Dr. Wakefield is a world-wide traitor for recommending spacing out vaccines! (By the way, the doctor's picture remains on our fridge; we are so thankful for his on-going research!) Also, having a measles virus in your body is greatly to be desired!

Is there any way you could give us an outline of what we can expect in the future as to how long the 5,000 claims will be pending in Vaccine Court and what steps would be required to switch over to civil court? If you ultimately lose in civil court do you have to pay for the defendant's attorney's fees and costs? Will there be class action suits against the pharma companies? How would we know if we could afford to get involved with those? At least in vaccine court your attorney's fees and costs are paid. Also, how do you know what attorney would be suitable for a class action suit? Any and all advice/thoughts you could give about the future of litigation would be greatly appreciated. After all these years, we would hate to give up now, especially since it would leave the impression to all new parents that vaccines are safe for their kids. Thank you.

P.S. I wonder how big pharma is going to feel when thousands of civil suits start heading their way? Will they then wish that Vaccine Court had paid claims out of their funds? Which is why the Vaccine Court was established in the first place!

The news as reported here, and the commentary, are truly the light shining out in the darkness.

We will observe a moment of silence at my house.

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