Vaccine injury often takes the shape of despair, depression, severe mental anguish for the individual and their families.
This is the story of Carolyn Schutte, the vaccine injured former mayor of Excelsior Springs, Missouri and her husband, James Schutte, now her caregiver. The story starts four years ago in June 2011.
The Schutte’s are planning on traveling to Africa at the end of the month for a vacation. Carolyn makes an appointment with a health clinic to update her vaccinations prior to leaving on their dream safari. Carolyn receives the Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Tdap vaccinations.
Within hours of receiving those vaccinations, she feels dizzy and weak. Within 48 hours, Carolyn loses consciousness and collapses.
Carolyn Schutte has suffered an encephalopathy - severe brain injury.
Mrs. Schutte previously mention as the former mayor of Excelsior Springs, Missouri. A small town of 12,000 citizens, 45 minutes northeast of Kansas City, Missouri. She was also currently a financial planner with many clients. James Schutte, is a noteworthy writer having authored a 1995 textbook for doctors called, “Preventing Medical Malpractice Suits: A Handbook for Doctors and Those Who Work with Them”.[i] Due to his background, Mr. Schutte clearly understands the immunity granted to doctors and pharmaceutical companies in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP).
I attempted to contact Mr. Schutte, but was unable to speak with him. However, I did find a public online journal or diary that he kept for a few months after Carolyn’s vaccination and subsequent diagnosis of vaccine injury. The diary offers insight in trying to understand what Mr. Schutte thinks about his wife, her injury, their plans for their retirement together.
“The active lifestyle that we had before is over. It’s gone. We just have to make due with what’s left.”[ii]
It’s not clear how well Mr. Schutte knows the NVICP, its petition process and the adjudication of his wife’s case without speaking to him directly. Yet from reading his diary, it’s clear that he hired a vaccine attorney shortly after the vaccine related injuries to Carolyn started manifest itself.
Only a handful of people in the United States understand the NVICP and most of them work as attorneys either for petitioners or the Department of Justice (who represent the Secretary of Health and Human Service) or as special masters. Those who file petitions for compensation for vaccine injury or death have been briefed about their upcoming journey through the NVICP. The general public has no idea of the experience petitioners have ahead of them.
In February of 2015, several Kansas City TV news reporters filed news articles all claiming the compensation awarded to Carolyn Schutte was one of the largest damage awards given to an individual in the NVICP. Headlines read “Feds award family $ 7.4 million over disabling vaccines”. All led with opening paragraphs emphasizing the dollar amount of the award instead of reporting about the severity of the vaccine injury.
The amount of the damage award being reported as on the largest in not even close to the largest. Mrs. Schutte will require a lot of expensive medical care but there are many children who were severely damaged by the DPT who were awarded large annuities to pay for medical care for their lives starting from an younger age. It is a sad fact that if an adult with the same earnings potential as Carolyn died from a vaccine they would only receive a maximum of $250,000.00. The death of a person from a vaccine is valued a lot less than someone who is severely injured from a vaccine.
Even one news report stated “The federal government awarded an Excelsior Springs man $ 7.4 million after his wife was left disabled from getting vaccines before trip. But this man says he’s still very much pro-vaccine”. Two things are incredible wrong here.
One, Mr. Schutte was NOT awarded $ 7.4 million. The estate of Carolyn Schutte was awarded most of the money. Yes, some of it goes to pay for unreimbursed medical expenses. But the majority of the money goes to pay for medical and attendant care Mrs. Schutte will require for the rest of her life.
Second, Mr. Schutte stated that he is still very much pro-vaccine. He continues in one news article by saying, “What happened to Carolyn is a freak accident” and “The damages these diseases do are much greater than any potential risk of getting vaccinated against them”[iii]. That last quote sounds like a talking point from a memo straight from Merck or GSK.
In my research for my book, “The Vaccine Court”,[iv] I interviewed over 285 families that filed petitions and a few families that did not file petitions for injures or death as the result of vaccinations. Not once in the course of these interviews did I hear from anyone that they remain staunchly pro-vaccine and believe that the damages from these diseases will do greater harm than the damage received from the vaccination. NOT ONCE.
Mr. Schutte is an astute writer. He holds a doctorate in human development and had done post-doctoral work in biomedical research. So it is not odd for him to relate the following; “when testing eliminates every other logical possibility that might explain what happened, and the medical history is consistent with vaccine injury, then that’s the diagnosis you’re left with”. For someone in the general populous to make that statement, it would stick out. For someone that has medical research training, this type of statement could be expected.
Yet with all of his years working with doctors on preventing malpractice lawsuits, Mr. Schutte still had to battle the medical establishment and the state bureaucracy for help with facility placement for his wife’s rehab. He continues in his writing about this very issue with this; “having spent the last 30 years teaching doctors how to avoid getting sued, I am no longer intimidated by MDs. Rather, I have learned how to intimidate them”.[v]
Mr. Schutte mentions the following statement in his online diary, “While this vaccine is extraordinary safe (referring to Tdap), about one patient in a million will react to it in ways consistent with Carolyn’s case. And if you are happen to be that one case in a million, the odds of coming away unscathed are decidedly against you.”[vi] However, we need to ask who determined the ratio of 1 in a million? The CDC or FDA? They have serious credibility issues and have lied to the American public for many years. The pharmaceutical industry?
But this is what is taught in medical schools around the country. And it is often repeated as talking points by the pro-vaccine crowd without even questioning if the statistic is correct.
The logical answer to the question would be this: By continuing to use “one in a million” reference, the pro-vaccine crowd can hide the real number of vaccine injuries. By claiming that the data contained in VAERS is not representative of real reactions, the suppression of true statistics of vaccine injured continues.
It’s fascinating to note how quickly this petition was adjudicated and damages awarded. She was injured from her vaccinations in June 2011. Her husband and attorney Leland Dempsey of Kansas City filed a petition with the NVICP in March 2014 claiming Carolyn’s current medical condition was the result of multiple vaccinations received in June 2011.
Special Master Christian Moran was assigned to the petition and on July 31, 2014, Moran issues a ruling of entitlement for Carolyn Schutte based upon the Sec’y of HHS concession in her Rule 4(c) report. The contents of the report while confidential, conclude “the Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation and HHS has review the facts of the case and have concluded that the petitioner is entitled to a vaccine award and “has satisfied all legal prerequisites for compensation under the Act.”[vii] SM Moran orders parties to confer and discuss process for quantifying the amount of damages to which the petitioner is entitled. Meaning in this specific case, a life care plan needs to be established to calculate current and future medical & attendant care needs.
On February 23, 2015, the respondent (Sec’y of HHS) files a Proffer on Award of Compensation which the petitioner agrees to. The next day, SM Moran issues his decision that parties have agreed, the agreement is reasonable, and the court awards damages.[viii]
The speed of this process for Carolyn is highly unusual. Rarely does the NVICP respond so quickly in favor of the petitioner. It reminds us of what the Program could be, a fair, quick, and generous compensation system.
Some facts helped move the case along: One, the type of injury was very acute in nature and occurred within established time limits, thus this injury was determined to be an On-Table Injury. Two, it appears from the filing date so close to the statute of limitations, Mr. Schutte and his attorney spent a lot of time prior collecting all the medical records and other documents, filing them with the original petition a very savvy decision by the attorney which can help in certain circumstances. I do have to tip my hat to Mr. Dempsey and Mr. Schutte for getting this done so quickly for Carolyn Schutte.
In an interview with a local station, KCTV 5 News at the end of February, Mr. Schutte made the following comment to the reporter, “I wonder whether part of her (Carolyn) reaction comes as a result of having multiple vaccines at once”.[ix] He continues, “the CDC have not addressed the topic, but thinks that since vaccines trigger an immune response, having multiple vaccines administered at one time could put a greater strain on the immune system.”[x] It’s with that reasoning that his grandson is getting his childhood vaccinations in spaced out doses, just in case this logic holds up.[xi]
Now if these last statements were made from a parent who has publicly questioned vaccinations, vaccine safety, and the lack of independent research, they would be labeled as “wacko anti-vaccine parents”. But when a person with a medical/research background to makes a statement about spreading out vaccinations or questions the potential harm of multiple vaccines administered at one time, nothing happens. The hypocrisy is remarkable.
Mr. Schutte even discloses that his wife had an underlying medical condition, lupus, prior to the vaccinations in June of 2011. Having read over 6,000 case decisions from the NVICP, I can tell you that underlying medical conditions such as lupus or other auto-immune disorders play a big part in what happens to an individual after receiving a series of vaccinations. Most of the time, the result is some form of aggravation of the pre-existing medical condition and a worsening of the person’s medical condition. Mr. Schutte’s attorney, Leland Dempsey, stated “You can’t predict who will suffer that auto-immune response”.[xii]
This is one of the biggest arguments that we use to defend our rights to not vaccinate our injured children or spread out the vaccinations. In October 2008, Judge Lettow in his opinion from the bench of the Federal Court of Claims acting upon a motion for review in the case of Loving v HHS,[xiii] ruled for the petitioner, vacated Special Master Moran’s decision to dismiss, and established what is known today at the Loving Standard – a six part test for determining whether a petitioner who alleges a vaccination significantly aggravated an injury that is not listed on the Injury Table is entitled to compensation.
So we have to question the doctor who administered the vaccinations to Carolyn Schutte. Did the doctor know of her pre-existing auto-immune disorder lupus? Did the doctor not think that a series of vaccinations could increase her risk of an adverse reaction? Or should we just trust them for all vaccination decisions as we are led to believe as evidenced by the bills in many states to remove exemptions because the “doctors know what is best for our children.” That one would need to have an additional education meeting with a doctor when we seek an exemption is ludicrous.
Maybe the doctors and state legislators should listen to the parents first before making rash decisions about “the greater good.” And this also should serve notice to the Secretary of HHS and her failure once again to conduct medical outcome studies on those individuals that file petitions with the NVICP. Noted again is the complete failure to follow a congressional mandate established in 1986 to conduct public awareness campaign about the NVICP. Every administration since 1986 - and every Secretary of HHS - has failed the American people regarding vaccine injury policy.
Wayne Rohde, author of The Vaccine Court – The Dark Truth of America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
[vii] Schutte v Sec’y of HHS, No. 14-239v, Moran ruling 07/31/2014
[viii] Schutte v Sec’y of HHS, No. 14-239v, Moran decision 02/24/2015
[xiii] Loving v. Sec’y of HHS, No. 02-469v