Managing Editor's Note: I live just ten miles from Milford, CT, where a beautiful young woman was slain with a knife by a classmate on Friday morning. Her story was on every news outlet before she took her last breath at Bridgeport Hospital's trauma cennter. She matters. Her story matters. Her death is a tragedy. Below we have a story of a young woman you've likely never heard of - her name is Lorrin Kain and she too matters. She suffered a vaccine injury and well, you can see the results. As we wind down this autism awareness month - which has been hijacked by the vaccine protection police known as media, bloggers, government employees and industry PR folks, we think it's important to remember that nothing is black and white. Think for yourself. Today? We think of Karen Kain and her daughter Lorrin. Buy the book - leave it in your pediatrician's waiting room. Take it out of the trash can. Put it back in the pediatrician's waiting room.... Yesterday kicked off the TWENTIETH "National Infant Immunization Week." National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), set for April 26 – May 3, 2014, is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities. 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of NIIW. Since 1994, hundreds of communities across the United States have joined together to celebrate the critical role vaccination plays in protecting our children, communities, and public health.
Visit Karen Kain's site and purchase the book at KarenKain.com. KRS
By Anne Dachel
Twenty years ago today, the life of tiny Lorrin Danielle Kain was changed forever. She was just six weeks old the day her mother took her in for a well baby checkup that included a DPT vaccination. This vaccine profoundly and permanently disabled Lorrin, and at the age of 15, after a lifetime of illness, she died.
The events of Lorrin's short life have been recorded in a moving new book by her mother Karen Kain called, A Unique Life Fully Lived.
I first met Karen in Chicago in 2011 at Autism One and I was with her again in 2013. We’ve stayed in touch, and while her book not about autism, it is a story that many parents in the autism community can relate to. What happened to Lorrin because of a vaccination is what countless autism parents testify happened to their children.
Karen wrote, My daughter, Lorrin Danielle Kain, received her DPT shot on April 27, 1994, at six weeks old. After the doctor administered the vaccine, she fell fast asleep. I woke her not long after to give her Tylenol as recommended, and she went back to sleep. . . . Two hours after the vaccination, Lorrin woke up screaming and crying. Little did I know, our lives were about to drastically change forever.
Karen described the extent of her daughter’s initial vaccine injury. Her hands were repeatedly clenching and opening, her eyes were blinking rapidly, and from her month came a high-pitched screaming. Lorrin was admitted to the ICU. It was the beginning of a lifetime of uncontrollable seizures.
Lorrin’s injuries included extensive brain damage and debilitating physical problems. She was left blind and had only partial hearing. She suffered from severe seizures. She was non-verbal and had spastic quadriplegia which left her totally dependent. She endured countless hospital stays, including months spent in the ICU, deep comas and months of life support. All of this was the result of a vaccination gone wrong. Lorrin’s doctors and the federal government agreed that the DPT vaccine had caused her medical conditions and she was awarded compensation, although it took almost four years for a settlement to be reached.
(It should be pointed out that neither the vaccine maker nor the doctor has any liability for side effects from vaccines. They are protected by federal law. Instead, parents like Karen have to appeal to an arbitrary program called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, where there are no precedents set and each case is a personal struggle against a system set up to protect the vaccine schedule.)
Karen described what getting compensation for Lorrin was like:
The government makes it as difficult as possible to qualify for compensation and they do everything in their power to avoid paying you. . . .
Usually, the trial is so drawn out that by the time an amount is awarded, the parents of the injured child have been beaten down financially, physically, and emotionally, leaving them no choice but to accept the government’s offer.
Having the government recognize that the DPT vaccine had injured her daughter was only the beginning for Karen. How a parent spends the money awarded is heavily scrutinized.
The hardest part for me was trying to identify what expenses I might need for Lorrin during her lifetime. As parents, we always hope for the best possible outcome for our children, but in this situation, optimism can undermine the only means of getting compensation. That said, how can anyone possibly know the entire future of a child who is so young? Lorrin was so very sick, but I could never have imagined that her medical needs would be as demanding as they were through her lifetime. Though no one can really know for sure, a lifecare planner can help put together a list of what a child might need. Once the compensation is agreed upon, the funds go into a trust. The compensation, known as an annuity, is distributed every year.
We met at Lorrin’s attorney’s office. The attendees included the Special Master, the stenographer, me, Tom, our life-care planner, and the government’s attorney, nurse, and pediatrician. It was one of the worst days of my life. I had to sit with what looked like civilized people and discuss my daughter’s future as if she were a burden on society. Before we even started discussing compensation, the government representatives
told us we had to place Lorrin in a home. We refused and the argument escalated from there. Our life-care planner had determined eighty-five essential items for which we asked compensation. It took three long days to go over the items in question. We asked for item number one, the government said no, and the process dragged on.
The Judge accepted the cost for Huggies wipes. You can only imagine what we went through discussing the other eighty-four items in question. We asked for wheelchairs, computers, a special bed for Lorrin. It was exhausting and completely out of any realm that I could wrap my brain around. Lorrin was my baby, and I hoped she would never need a wheelchair or a hospital bed. At the end of each day, I had to go home and care for my baby whose body was brutalized by the seizures she had suffered that day.
After the litigation came a horrific but real part of pursuing Lorrin’s case: the government delayed payment, anticipating that she would die. Her death was expected by all her doctors, and I’m sure that was written all over her medical files. Lorrin’s prognosis was grim at best. She was just money being spent, so the government looked for every excuse to deny it.
Karen described to me how she was treated by the medical establishment following her daughter’s vaccine reaction.
I understand why most doctors didn't want to talk to me about what happened to Lorrin. They would be threatened and looked down upon by their peers for talking about vaccine injuries. It's obvious that kids have injuries from vaccinations otherwise there wouldn't be a federal compensation fund.
A children's hospital brain surgeon told me, "There will never be a cure for your daughter because they will never admit that it happens."
The government agreed that Lorrin’s condition was the result of her vaccination in 1994. Formally acknowledged by 1995, it took over three years for them to decide what her life was worth. Karen told me that Lorrin’s critical condition made everyone think she could die at any time. The government kept postponing the settlement because if she died, the death benefit would be only $250,000.
No one from the vaccine program ever contacted Karen to investigate the specific circumstances of Lorrin’s injury. Those in charge of vaccine safety did nothing to make sure that whatever happened to make Lorrin so sick, didn’t happen to anyone else’s child.
Parents reading this book will naturally think of their own children. I know I did, especially because I’m the mother of two girls myself. Throughout the book, as Karen described the suffering and struggles both she and her daughter endured, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “What if that had been my Laura? What if it had happened to my Kate? How would I have faced the responsibilities that Karen did for fifteen years?” The overwhelming needs of Lorrin took a heavy toll on Karen, including the ending of her marriage. So much of what Karen endured, she went through alone.
Lisa Joyce Goes, a contributing editor at Age of Autism and a co-founder of the Thinking Moms’ Revolution, wrote the foreword for the book. Like me, she first met Karen Kain at Autism One in 2011 where Karen talked about what happened to Lorrin because of her vaccine injury.
In the forward Lisa wrote: Over the years, I have come to know Karen Kain as a person of extraordinary purpose and character. If you are reading this book, the same can be said of you. Many people walk away because the truth about what is happening to the children of this country is so incredibly hard to face. Like Karen and me, you will be forever changed.
But, you will also have the glorious honor of being captivated by Lorrin, her choices, her journey, her beautiful yet broken body, her limitless spirit and love for us all. You will grow in respect and admiration for Karen as she shows us what it really means to sacrifice, love, live a full life as a caregiver, but very much remain human, a woman who still has dreams in the midst of navigating an unpredictable life she did not choose.
I can’t tell you how many times I cried while reading Karen’s book. It’s hard not to when learning about a beautiful child living an extraordinarily difficult life. Lorrin never talked or walked, but because of the ceaseless efforts of her mother, she was able to have many of the precious experiences of a normal childhood. There are accounts of sleepovers, horseback riding, a service dog named Nicolette, a wonderful best friend named Sarah, and participating in the Miss Preteen Pasadena Pageant with 240 other girls.
My story is about the brave and loving ones who showed up in Lorrin’s life and took the opportunity to see the world through different eyes. Lorrin only saw love. If you spent any time with her, she would convince you that she had a secret love and faith in God. She lived a lifetime full of peace.
This is my journey as Lorrin’s mother. I have lost everything in my life that I thought was important. . . . I would never have chosen the life I have experienced. I endured rejection, rage, fear, and destitution. . . .I brought the best life I could to my daughter. I was privileged to be the one who witnessed her strength first hand. I brought life to Lorrin as she taught me my toughest life lessons.
A number of times in the book Karen talked about when Lorrin would “leave her body,” as if she were always thinking of the inevitable outcome she faced. “I had always known and tried to prepare for the simple fact that Lorrin’s body would not last as long as mine.”
Each day was precious. Nothing was taken for granted. All that mattered was that Lorrin knew she was loved by her mother and so many others.
It has been a wonderful experience getting to know Karen. She’s had to face the heartbreak no mother ever should. She saw her perfect baby injured and suffering and ultimately dying from those injuries. Now she’s taken on the mission of telling Lorrin’s story. It’s not just about what happened to her daughter because of the DPT vaccine, but also what Lorrin gave to and received from others.
If what happened to Lorrin, had happened to one of my daughters, I would want it to mean something. I would want others to know about my child, and that’s what Karen is doing. Lorrin lives on in the words Karen has written and the talks she gives. It makes her life rich and connects her to countless others.
Karen wrote, I am the lucky one. I have lived, really lived. She is my strength. It is for her that I try to be the best person I can, and it is for her I tell our story.
Karen told me, Life is but a coffee break. Lorrin taught me to be in the moment, to get up and take on the day.
On Saturday, March 22nd, Sylvia Pimentel held a book launch party for Karen Kain's book, A Unique Life Fully Lived, at her house in Granite Bay, CA. Sylvia and her husband Ken have two vaccine injured teen boys, Joseph 19, and Nicholas 16. There were approximately 60 people at the party, mostly adults, but a few kids too.
Most of the guests were parents of vaccine injured children. Half a dozen or so of the attendees were not personally affected by vaccine injury, but wanted to know more about Lorrin and Karen's story.
Before Karen spoke, Sylvia asked everyone to give a brief introduction and their connection to vaccine injury.
Sylvia described it like this: It was amazing that so many of our stories were so similar! Person after person spoke of trusting the system, and then witnessing their precious baby being injured. It was truly heartbreaking to absorb the enormity of the destruction that our "well baby visit" medical system has brought.
I shared my story about how I navigated through Lorrin’s vaccine injury. Lorrin was much more than a statistic; she was a blond haired blue eyed Pisces who loved shopping, eating chocolate and God. Not in that order. I have hope and I am proud to part of allowing our children to grow up….healthy!
Here I was, in a room full of packed full of parents, 95% had their own story of vaccine injury. It was shocking to hear story after story being told differently and yet similar. The unnecessary disregard for our children’s health is only getting worse. What is to become of our children if we lose our choice? My sweet friend and advocate Dawn Winkler-Kinateder recounted her tragic tale of her baby who died at 5 months of age after following the vaccine schedule. The beautiful Fuller family talked about how alone they were when their son was injured twenty years ago. One new concern now is that doctors are telling moms to make sure they have anyone around their child vaccinated. This is called the “cocoon”. Even scarier is the number of families who have more than one child with autism. This is becoming a norm. I am shocked and gravely concerned and society should be also!
We all are survivors who have been ignored and our children’s lives seemingly unimportant in the world’s eyes have had society turn their backs on us.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which goes on sale this Fall from Skyhorse Publishing.