By Cathy Jameson
I wrote and sent this to my Congressman last week. I wanted to make sure he knew about the Congressional Briefing on the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and about the upcoming Hearing. I haven’t heard back from him yet, but when I do, I hope it is a positive response.
I have a 10-year old son who was vaccine injured. Ronan's injury happened as we followed the recommended childhood vaccine schedule. We discovered that not all vaccines provide benefits and that for my child, vaccines played a negative role in his development. In this discovery, we also learned that our government set up a program to assist those who are injured by vaccinations. Since we saw that Ronan’s injury correlated with his vaccines, we filed a claim with Vaccine “Court” in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Since that program was set up in the late 1980s under the Department of Human Health and Services, the US government has awarded over $3 billion to vaccine injured individuals or to the families of those who have died from a vaccination.
The results of Ronan's injury were very clear to us. They continue to plague him as well. Ronan is non-verbal, has seizures, cannot use the bathroom on his own, cannot cross the street on his own, is in jeopardy of wandering, is enrolled in a special education program and requires one-on-one speech, occupational and behavioral therapy. He has also been diagnosed with autism.
From our initial filing to Ronan’s case being dismissed in Vaccine Court, it took 7 years to get through the system. Seven years! Looking at Ronan, knowing his history, connecting the dots on his medical records from when he went from happy and healthy to very sick and severely autistic, it's clear that vaccines did something to him. One can see the progression of the major regression.
One cannot deny the struggles he deals with every single day. One can clearly see how medically fragile he is. On paper, though, the VICP made it incredibly difficult to prove that the vaccine injury occurred. This program, while intending to be swift and helpful, was designed by the government for the government's gain. It failed a child, a child who has been left with life-long medical issues and who will likely remain dependent on me and my husband for a very long time.
I am writing to you, Congressman, because I need your help. Ronan lost his voice. He lost his ability to speak after receiving his vaccines. He cannot tell me when it hurts. He cannot tell me what he needs. He cannot tell me what he wants or doesn’t want. He cannot speak up for himself. But you can. You can use your voice. You can do that for Ronan, for our family and for the other families in your district who need you to speak up.
Here is a description of what is currently in place and what type of action needs to be done to remedy the problems. From advocates for the vaccine injured, because they say it better than I could:
"Since the 1980s, thousands of children have suffered irreparable injuries or death from federally recommended vaccines. Vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe” and yet the federal government recommends that children receive 70 doses before age 18. Childhood rates of chronic disease, including autism, ADHD, asthma and severe allergies, are exploding. These disorders cost the nation trillions of dollars. Medical and scientific experts have presented credible evidence linking these disorders and diseases with vaccine injury in the VICP.
The VICP exhibits manifold failings: the normal rules of civil procedure and evidence don’t apply; Special Masters routinely slash lawyers’ and experts’ fees; the Special Masters, appointed to four-year terms, lack judicial independence; limited science is available to petitioners, although HHS maintains vast databases; there’s no jury of citizen peers; and the government has no burden to prove alternate causation. And these are just some of the problems.
Come learn about how this system has become a politicized, arbitrary and capricious program that victimizes those who have suffered from federally recommended vaccines. In a program that Congress intended to be swift, generous and non-adversarial, cases routinely last more than a decade; over 80% of petitions go uncompensated; and Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice flagrantly antagonize families who have suffered catastrophic injuries." (posted on www.ageofautism.com)
Sadly, with the dismissal of Ronan’s vaccine injury case, none of Ronan's developmental delays, medical needs or overall struggles went away. Neither did the existing problems within the VICP. Tomorrow, Nov. 7th, at noon, in preparation for the upcoming Congressional Hearing about the injustices of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a Congressional Staff Briefing will be held. It will be held in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2203. I, unfortunately, will not be able to attend the briefing. I won’t be there to hear what is being proposed to address the problems of the VICP. I won’t be there as I have to stay close to home to care for Ronan. I am asking that you, please, go to the briefing for me. Go for Ronan. If you cannot go, please, send a health staffer to go in your place. Get the information from those who are informed. Listen to those who have worked tirelessly on behalf of children like mine. Believe in, and act with, those who have promised to never ever give up on making the changes that are needed to fix the program that is so very broken.
No one is exempt from vaccine injury. My child is proof. It may be too late for Ronan to receive the justice he deserves, but together, we can work to ensure that the vaccine injured who come after Ronan will get the help they need. That matters. Ronan’s voice matters. Please, be part of the effort to give the voiceless a chance to be heard.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism