A long and hard fight for compensation due to a vaccine injury has been won -- finally. You can read about it HERE. This is an historic event in that this is the first UK MMR case that has won in their vaccine injury system BUT, it is not for autism, according to the media and Department of Health. This injury by MMR is for seizures, or more precisely, epilepsy.
This is what the Daily Mail reported: "He endures frequent epileptic fits and requires round-the-clock care from his parents Jackie and John, though he is not autistic. He suffered the devastating effects after being given the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine when he was 13 months old."
Jacki and John Fletcher are warrior parents who have persevered in their care and legal case for Robert, now 18 years old. Jackie, in a recent email to Anne Dachel, here at Age of Autism, revealed that Robert suffers from a severe seizure disorder, with an inflamed oesophagus, brain damage and has some minor autistic traits. The award stressed epilepsy as the result of his injury. That is great news but for the thousands still waiting with children and teens also injured by the MMR, the lack of the word, "autism", is baffling. Welcome UK parents, to our world, too. Here in the states, we also have heard those words, "but not autism."
Whether it is severe autism or minor autism, isn't "autism" a set of behaviors? In March of 2008, the Poling family hit the news, much like the Fletcher's now: "ATLANTA — For those convinced that vaccines can cause autism, the sad case of a Georgia girl, daughter of a doctor and lawyer, seems like clear-cut evidence. The government has agreed to pay the girl’s family for injury caused by vaccines. The 9-year-old girl, Hannah Poling, had an underlying condition that may have been worsened, triggering her autism-like symptoms." HERE. Hannah also was compensated for seizures that did not begin until six years after the date of vaccination. HERE
And from the Daily Mail yesterday on Robert: "In a dissenting judgment, Professor Lingam said he believed Robert was ‘genetically predisposed to epilepsy and that the vaccination triggered it rather than caused it. 'Robert would have developed epilepsy in any event, even if he had not had the vaccination’. But Professor Lingam was overruled by his two colleagues. In their final judgment, they accepted that MMR had caused Robert’s illness but added: ‘We would stress that this decision is fact-specific and it should not be seen as a precedent for any other case" and again from MSNBC on Hannah: “This does not represent anything other than a very special situation,” said Dr. Julie Gerberding, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." TIME reported a bit more back then: "The Poling case is also causing deep concern among public health officials, eager to reassure parents that vaccines are safe and, indeed, hugely beneficial. In a public statement on Friday, Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), insisted that "the government has made absolutely no statement about indicating that vaccines are the cause of autism, as this would be a complete mischaracterization of any of the science that we have at our disposal today." HERE
Coincidentally, Dr. Julie Gerberding left the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and was named president of Merck & Co vaccine division at the start of this year. Merck is maker of MMR vaccine. Are you getting the very crazy picture here? A child has been injured by a vaccine, whether it be MMR or Thimerosal-containing vaccines , is labeled "autistic" by the pediatrician, neurologist or other health professional, then is denied vaccine injury compensation, based on that word. It appears that the Fletcher family has shown that Robert's development was stopped and brain damage was the cause from the MMR.
Enter the Cedillo family and their daughter Michelle. Michelle is now 15 and her case of both MMR and Thimerosal causing her autism, seizures and severe GI disease has been denied twice in Vaccine Court. It was filed back in 1998. Michelle, like Robert and Hannah, suffers from severe seizures. From the 2007 Hearing: "At Michelle Cedillo's hearing last year, Dr. Marcel Kinsbourne, a pediatric neurologist who is a professor at The New School in New York, testified that he thought the measles vaccine was a "substantial factor" in causing the girl's autism. Traces of the measles virus were found in Michelle's gut, leading the Oxford University-trained doctor to conclude the girl's immune system had not rejected the virus. Kinsbourne told the court the measles virus invaded cells in Michelle's brain, resulting in her autism." HERE
Dr. Kinsbourne was also a key expert in the favorable decision for the Fletcher's, again in the Daily Mail: "At this month’s appeal, evidence was given by a leading expert on vaccine-damaged children, paediatric neurologist Dr Marcel Kinsbourne. He explained the biological changes which had occurred in Robert’s brain following the vaccination." Same testimony, same vaccine, same injuries but Michelle Cedillo's case has THE AUTISM WORD as her diagnosis along with all of her other medical diagnoses. It is encouraging that the Fletcher's have proven injury to Robert by the MMR vaccine.
The financial responsibility to a disabled child is astronomical and there are thousands of other children also waiting to prove their cases of autism, seizures and GI disease. So there is much to be learned by this very big win in the UK:
1-Robert's family has proven that MMR can cause brain damage and GI injury -- the MMR-autism connection -- which will give hope to thousands of other parents whose children have been severely affected by routine vaccinations.
2-To admit that MMR can cause autism and its related injuries to brain and gut is to accept that Dr. Andrew Wakefield et al were correct in 1998 to raise concerns about a possible link between the combined MMR vaccination to GI disease and regression ie - autism, and instead of condemning them for that work, to applaud their heroic research.
3- Health Authorities in both the USA and UK continue to deny "autism" as a vaccine injury but have conceded and/or paid compensation to medical diagnoses related to vaccine injuries. The Bailey Banks case is another example: HERE
4-The Cedillo case, because it includes both the mercury preservative, Thimerosal and the combined Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, as the causative factors in Michelle's regression into autism, is a huge precedent of a case. Would they win if it were epilepsy alone?
5-All of these children were injured as a result of their childhood vaccines and no matter what words are used or not used in court, justice needs to prevail.
Teresa Conrick is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.