SafeMinds' Response to Autism Omnibus Court Decision
Managing Editor's Note: Below is a response from our sponsor SafeMinds.
Washington, D.C. - February 12, 2009 - Autism advocacy organization SafeMinds regrets today's ruling by the U.S Court of Federal Claims against three families who argued that vaccination contributed to their child's autism. The denial of reasonable compensation to families was based on inadequate vaccine safety science available to the court. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the defendant in vaccine injury cases and is also responsible for carrying out the very vaccine safety research that should be integral to court decisions. This conflict of interest means the deck is stacked against families when they enter "vaccine court" and is yet one more reason for parents to doubt the integrity of the National Immunization Program.
"The government has its thumb on the scales of justice," said Jim Moody, director of SafeMinds and an advisor to the Petitioners Steering Committee of the U.S Federal Court of Claims. "The Vaccine Injury Compensation Act passed by Congress in 1986 gave immunity to vaccine manufacturers and removed the incentive to create safer products. Meanwhile, the law only gives the illusion that parents will have their day in court. The process is dysfunctional and many families will not see justice done."
Two HHS agencies, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are responsible for conducting vaccine safety research. Even leading vaccine proponents have accused the CDC of carrying out safety research "on the cheap," and two major systematic reviews of vaccine research by the world renowned Cochrane Collaboration have found studies to be of "poor quality" and "inadequate." The director of the NIH institute in charge of autism studies, Dr. Tom Insel, has admitted that HHS has a conflict of interest preventing NIH from allowing autism-vaccine science due to the court cases. Last month, the government-dominated Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee blocked critical vaccine-autism research studies from moving forward even though they had been requested by their own scientific advisors and autism advocates. HHS gives billions of dollars to pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines and build vaccine factories, and the CDC spends billions of dollars to promote and expand the immunization of Americans, yet the CDC spends only $20 million on safety studies. Even this modest research has been placed off-limits to review by the lawyers representing the vaccine court families while the Department of Justice lawyers were allowed to use it.
"The government must fund an extensive vaccine safety program, including studies of the health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated groups," stated Sallie Bernard, executive director of SafeMinds. "Trust in immunization will continue to deteriorate without the perception of a fair hearing. It is time for a neutral agency to oversee vaccine safety."
Over 5,000 petitions have been filed in the vaccine court alleging that vaccines caused a variety of damage to the developing brain, immune system, and other metabolic pathways ultimately giving rise to a diagnosis of autism. Already, the court has awarded approximately $5 million in compensation for such cases, of which the Hannah Poling case is the most well-known. Many of these cases were quietly settled by the government so the public is not aware of them. Thus the court has already decided that vaccine injury is linked to autism. Today's ruling against families demonstrates that the process is arbitrary. The question is not whether some cases of autism have a vaccine etiology. The government has admitted that. The only remaining question is how many kids have been injured - and what must be done now to treat these kids and prevent further injury.
SafeMinds wishes to recognize the bravery and perseverance of the three families who now face a lifetime of inadequate support for their disabled children.
The Coalition for SafeMinds (Sensible Action for Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders) is a nonprofit organization founded to investigate and raise awareness of the risks to infants and children of exposure to mercury from medical products, including thimerosal in vaccines. Further information about SafeMinds and the harmful effects from mercury exposure may be found at www.safeminds.org.
I am proud of you too.
I am so sorry this had to happen to you and your family.
Posted by: Benedetta | May 04, 2011 at 09:37 PM
I'm a mother of 3 kdis with Autism & full believer that Vacciones cause Autism. When my 7 year old got his MMR at 18months within 2 weeks he stopped talking, went back to diapers & crawling and much more. He hit all this milestones on time & was ahead of other kids his age. I can say the Government will never take responsibilities of this. Nor should we expect them too. They will just point fingers at each other. But I am proud that I am not at home sitting I am out educating parents & lettting them know they have a voice.
Posted by: Mother | May 04, 2011 at 02:39 PM
The Cochrane Collaboration has a detailed website and I went to it. Their conclussion is that based upon over 30 studies 'there is nor correlation of vaccine use and autism' so if you quote them as an authority then you have to acknowledge their conclusions.
Posted by: Dr Alan Koslow | February 16, 2009 at 02:10 PM
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.”
For “A” and so many Others
Posted by: M | February 16, 2009 at 09:37 AM
Bob and Richard, loved your comments on bias in the courts and the pointlessness in getting vaccinated. Indeed, why take the risk in getting vaccinated if you don.t stand a chance in hell of being compensated. Even the new health chair in Canada broached the idea of a vaccine court because he thought "it seemed unjust not to do so." The ONLY way they've got you there is by barring your kids' entry in to school.
THe whole situation is starting to remind me of the scene in The Poseidon Adventure, just before the boat implodes from the pressure of the water surrounding it. It's making those groaning, creaking, straining noises just before it all commes crashing in.
Posted by: jen | February 13, 2009 at 12:35 PM
Vitamins may be dangerous to your health
Not paying taxes will get you a cabinet position
The Cuban health care system is better than ours
There are no side effects from Pharmaceuticals
Bottle feeding is better than breastfeeding
High C-X rate is normal
Every cold can be treated with antibiotics
Aids, HPV, Hepatitis B etc. are not caused by sexual relations
Snapping your fingers keeps pink elephants away
Vaccines do not cause Autism
What more can you say
Posted by: Mayer Eisenstein MD JD MPH | February 13, 2009 at 12:21 PM
Ben, this was exactly my though after reading Cedillo case, thanks for expressing it so clearly :) While the wording throughout most of the decision was quite objective, or at least was trying to be, and had the undertone of "...just show us a bit more evidence and we would be willing to believe..." the last few pages became increasingly biased, and the concluding remarks that you quoted are disgustingly patronising and unprofessionally "judgmenental" (or should we say prejudiced/biased when coming from a judge?).
His concluding paragraphs left me with no doubt whatsoever that the decision was ultimately hypocritical, biased and very unprofessional/wrong.
Posted by: Natasa | February 13, 2009 at 07:28 AM
I just listened to the the song Philadelphia(springsteen) and could not help but wonder why our children do not get 1/100th the amount of sympathy as those with aids? Just a 3 am thought left over from a very rough day.
Posted by: Richard | February 13, 2009 at 05:04 AM
I am an attorney in Nevada (former Air Force JAG), and I have a 3 y.o. boy with autism.
PLEASE - NOBODY CONFUSE THIS (OR ANY) COURT RULING WITH REALITY! This ruling is just a court ruling -- and a bad one, as I will explain below.
REMEMBER! The three decisions handed down are not "science." They are not a study comparing un-vaccinated kids to vaccinated kids. THE SPECIAL MASTER'S DECISION IN THESE THREE CASES DOES NOT INCREASE MANKIND'S KNOWLEDGE ABOUT WHAT CAUSES AUTISM. It is just some guy in a black robe who rendered a decision in a lawsuit.
Any lawyer will tell you that judges (and Special Masters) get things wrong ALL THE TIME. I don't mean that they get things "wrong" merely because they don't rule in your favor -- I mean they get things WRONG. They get things wrong A LOT! I think they get things wrong almost 50% of the time.
As I have gotten older and wiser, I realize more and more how often seemingly smart / educated people are just WRONG. And people are ESPECIALLY LIKELY TO GET THINGS WRONG WHEN THEY ARE OPERATING FROM A BIASED VIEWPOINT.
I believe this Special Master had a BIAS. I'll let you in on a secret: YOU CAN ALWAYS TELL WHEN A JUDGE (OR SPECIAL MASTER) IS BIASED - AND WHEN THEIR BIAS HAS AFFECTED THEIR DECISIONMAKING. WANNA KNOW ***HOW*** YOU CAN TELL? Shhhhhh!... You gotta keep this secret...
You can tell when a Judge is biased when he/she reaches conclusions which are NOT NECESSARY in deciding the outcome.
In this case, the Special Master said this:
“Sadly, the petitioners in this litigation have been the victims of bad science conducted to support litigation rather than to advance medical and scientific understanding” of autism.
This was a gratuitous shot at the Plaintiffs' experts. In order to render a decision, the Special Master need only have found that the Plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of proof to demonstrate by a preponderance (51%) that the MMR vaccine caused their childrens' autism. That's what an UNBIASED jurist would have concluded.
Instead, the Special Master took a shot at the doctors who supported the Plaintiffs' view that vaccines played a role in their childrens' autism.
Let's see that again:
"[...] bad science conducted to support litigation rather than to advance medical and scientific understanding [...]."
Bottom line: this Special Master's tone, and the substance of his findings, betray a strong bias. He has what you call "AN INELASTIC PREDISPOSITION" in favor of the government and the vaccine manufacturers.
Just because you "lose" doesn't mean the Judge was wrong; and just because you "win" doesn't mean the judge is right.
There is an "objective reality" out there. Vaccines either DO or they DO NOT...
cause / trigger / contribute to / or exacerbate ...autism / PDD.
These decisions do not add anything to our understanding. The families should appeal, because the Special Master's bias has self-evidently led him to decide the cases based upon his viewpoint, rather than on the real evidence.
Posted by: Bob | February 13, 2009 at 02:41 AM
I was not anti-vaccine prior to this ruling but now I am. I will now tell everyone I know to avoid all vaccines because if you have a negative reaction you will never ever,ever be compensated and the odds are in your favor you will never get the disease you are being vaccinated against.
Posted by: Richard | February 13, 2009 at 02:13 AM
Garbo, WRITE A BOOK!
You are so eloquent! And really say it with the emotion we need to hear...have you thought of that?
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | February 13, 2009 at 12:19 AM
How will new families, just learning about their child's injury, find a good attorney after all this?
Posted by: bensmyson | February 12, 2009 at 11:05 PM
Campbell Brown of CNN is shrieking all Amanda Peet-style about vaxxing kids for measles. This is the same "reporter" who made a joke of a broadcast where she and Anderson Cooper w/Chin (aka John King) discussed political parties controlling both executive and legislative branches -- not one mention of the last president whose party controlled both branches for how many years?
The youtube video has been yanked, interestingly enough, but I did see it and was able to find the transcript:
Campbell Brown: For those people who have been worried about the possibility of one party controlling Congress and the White House, the last president to do that, of course, was....?
John King: Ah, that was Bill Clinton, and...
Brown: Jimmy Carter! Jimmy Carter had... Bill Clinton had Democrats in the House and in the Senate?
King: Very briefly.
Brown: Very briefly. Didn't go so well.
King: No it didn't.
Posted by: Josh Day | February 12, 2009 at 10:49 PM
It's been a long and tiring day, filled with gloating ghouls who willfully ignore the very real dangers vaccines present. So I thought I'd just share my favorite quote:
"Fight one more round. When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round. When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are so tired that you wish your opponent would crack you one on the jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round-remembering that the man who fights one more round is never whipped."
Posted by: Garbo | February 12, 2009 at 07:57 PM
Amazing how when the Polings WON in VICP establishing a connection between vaccines and autism the media barely made mention of it but now that the news in the VICP is negative for the families the media cannot push it out fast enough. Amazing what influence a little Pharma ad money can have.
Pro 29:7 The righteous considers the cause of the poor, [But] the wicked does not understand [such] knowledge.
Ecc 3:17 I said in my heart, "God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For [there is] a time there for every purpose and for every work."
Posted by: Richard | February 12, 2009 at 07:52 PM
The Laws of Ecology: "All things are interconnected. Everything goes
somewhere. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Nature bats last."
"Disease is the retribution of outraged nature."
"Some remedies are worse than the disease."
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | February 12, 2009 at 06:14 PM
Remember everyone, this now opens the doors for these families to take it to civil court. Yes we know these families need the funds now to help their kids. But just how many civil trials are gonna be won by families before the dominoes fall.
Posted by: Debi | February 12, 2009 at 05:17 PM
Since the court & government continue to use very flawed studies, such as the 2004 study that Dr. Healy has said was intentionally biased, how do we go about getting the journals to retract those studies? Would it take medical professionals or can the lay person take action against the continual support of deliberately flawed studies?
Posted by: Debi | February 12, 2009 at 05:14 PM
I do not see a way to lower profits for Pharma anymore. I see this is a gold mine for both Pharma and the vaccine court's fund. I see a mad rush of parents that may have been on the fence, to the doctor for "catch-up" shots. The vary same thing that put My Liam over the edge. I can not express my sadness.
Posted by: Matt Flynn | February 12, 2009 at 05:08 PM
There’s been a lot of talk comparing this trial with the OJ trial. I never followed the OJ trial that closely. But if I’d wanted to, I could have. I seem to remember that there were cameras in the courtroom and the trial was extensively if not completely televised.
Right now I have nothing to base my opinion of these rulings on except for the writings of the Special Masters. In fact, there are few people who do. How nice for the Special Masters. And we all know how the media is going to spin these decisions.
I’m sorry, but I’ve seen too much in the last five years to let any appeal to authority argument sway me. I’ve been forcibly silenced in internet political chat rooms too many times, and too many attempts have been made to censor what I’ve had to say when all that I had to say were simply facts.
I never considered this a real trial, anyway. Real trials have juries. I don’t suppose there is such a thing, any more, what with Daubert and judges who are able to disallow any expert testimony that they see fit. But one can hope. So, it is my understanding that the plaintiffs are now free to seek redress in a civil court. When will these trials start, and how long should one expect them to take?
Posted by: Robin Nemeth | February 12, 2009 at 04:57 PM
That's why our message of green vaccines, safe vaccines, slower schedule, split, is bitting us in the butt, as predicted. Do we trust them now to take care of our kids? PLUEEZ.
The only thing they understand, is that a major portion of society doesn't trust them, and doesn't partake in pediatric well baby soon to be sick baby visits with multiple vaccines, slow vaccines, or the new politically correct term, green vaccine NO VACCINE IS SAFE, EFFECTIVE, WORKS, AMELEIORATES and or DISTINGUISHES disease, it does the exact opposite.
Until it hurts their bottom line, then lets be little revolutionists and quit the entire system all together. Just like how people are holding on to their money, and the stores are noticing and profits are falling and price wars are coming out of the woodwork. They will have to PROVE vaccines ARE safe, or have an incentive to prove they are, but until then, we have to say, we are not working with you dudes. You don't negotiate with terrorists, period.
I don't think sitting on the fence, playing the game, sugar gets more bees approaches, is going to work now, the only thing they understand is their profit margins. They are too smart to know our tactics. Time we show them the ultimate one.
If only this was done years ago, we would have gotten somewhere....
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | February 12, 2009 at 04:52 PM
Absolutely tragic. May I remind our readers of this document?
How quickly some seem to forget!
Posted by: MrsDoGood | February 12, 2009 at 04:45 PM