Do as I say, Not as I Do
Or listen to what I am saying and do not pay attention to what happened to me
By Wayne Rohde and Louis Conte
In a recent decision in the Vaccine Court, more formally known as the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), a Special Master (administrator to oversee proceedings) granted the petitioner’s (injured party filing a claim for compensation) motion to redact not only the petitioner’s name for proceedings going forward but also the entitlement ruling (decision the petitioner is eligible for compensation, process to move into damages phase) handed down in the fall of 2017.
Redaction of personal information is very difficult to obtain in the NVICP. Typically, the Department of Justice attorneys who represent the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the NVICP oppose motions to redact personal information. Special Masters rarely allow petitioners to do so.
Keep in mind that the NVICP exists because Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986. The Act essentially ended civil liability for vaccine manufacturers and medical professionals who administer vaccines.
In other words, an American citizen cannot sue a vaccine manufacturer. If someone claims to have been injured by a vaccine or a family member who died from a vaccine, they have to sue the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), a Presidential Cabinet member, in the Federal Court of Claims.
What makes this specific redaction decision so interesting is the identity of the petitioner and her line of work.
In the motion for redaction, the petitioner stated that she holds a position with an organization which engages in public health advocacy related to vaccination. The petitioner expressed concern that public knowledge of her vaccine injury claim would negatively impact her credibility and professional relationships.
It seems that the Special Master and the Department of Justice attorneys agreed with the petitioner: Disclosing that you have suffered a vaccine injury – even one that you have been compensated for – can damage your professional career.
The Special Master ordered that the petitioner’s name be stricken from publicly available documents and replaced with initials.
In this case, the vaccine injury alleged a Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA). According to HHS statistics, SIRVA is the most common vaccine injury claim brought in the NVICP over the past 3 years, followed closely by Guillain-Bare’ Syndrome (GBS). We have written extensively about SIRVA in the NVICP, here, and here.
We will extend this medical professional the privacy the NVICP afforded her other than to note the petitioner practices medicine in the field of infectious disease.
The discussion that follows seems to resonate with old adage “do what I say, not what I do.”
A previous case
A few years ago, Wayne Rohde discovered another peculiar redaction decision in 2012 whereas the petitioner was denied. In her motion for redaction the petitioner, who won a large compensation award, claimed she needed privacy for personal safety reasons to protect the identity of her husband who worked in law enforcement. The petitioner, who lives in New York State, claimed a problematic relative would attempt to take her monetary award. But, of even more concern, was her concern for her husband who was working in an undercover duty in law enforcement. The petitioner was concerned her husband was in jeopardy if her name was released in a public document.
The Special Master in this case denied the petitioner’s motion for redaction.
Apparently, it is acceptable to protect the identity of medical professionals who might suffer criticism from fellow public health professionals but not acceptable for anyone else with a vaccine injury claim.
Mr. Rohde was curious as to why the Special Master denied the petitioner’s motion. So, he contacted the petitioner via phone call.
The petitioner answered the phone. Mr. Rohde introduced himself and explained why he was calling. The petitioner said that she did not know anyone by that name and hung up.
It was then he could sense that she was really fearful, being really scared and caught in a trap that was set by the NVICP and Special Master’s decision.
Within a couple of minutes, Wayne received a call from a New York State Trooper asking about why he as trying to contact her. Wayne gave him all some information, credentials, and the reason why he wanted to talk with her. While one the phone, the trooper googled Mr. Rohde and conducted a quick background check. Within 5 minutes, he mentioned that Wayne checked out and was a legitimate concerned individual. He would not talk more about the petitioner but did mention that he also had a family member who he believed was vaccine injured.
Our community is larger than we realize.
Back to the doctor
The Vaccine Court has granted a personal information redaction to a medical doctor who practices in the United States in the field of infectious disease. Is this doctor worried about what her peers will say about the petitioner? Is it out of concern that the public stop vaccinating because of this public health professional’s vaccine injury.
According to the HHS, the public has no right to know.
A few years ago, the Secretary of HHS balked at the idea of conducting a public awareness campaign about the NVICP, hiding behind the rationale that public would stop vaccinating if they know there was a federal program to compensate vaccine injury.
HHS has dedicated virtually no resources to publicizing the NVICP even though Congress mandated that they do so in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act.
Perhaps it is the very real fear that if the public was educated on the number of vaccine injuries and the very real devastating medical outcome that often follow from them, the public might start asking tough questions.
The Redaction Process
Typically, the DOJ attorneys that represent the Secretary of HHS aggressively fight a redaction motions.
In this case, they sat on their hands and let the Special Master know there was no objection.
Section 12(d)(4)(B) of the Vaccine Act, in relevant part, provides that:
A decision of the Special Master or the court in a proceeding shall be disclosed, except that if the decision is to include information:
- Which is a trade secret or commercial or financial information which is privileged and confidential, or
- Which are medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy, and if the person who submitted such information objects to the inclusion of such information in the decision, the decision shall be disclosed without such information.
Mr. Rohde has written extensively about petitioner privacy, especially children. In his book, The Vaccine Court – The Dark Truth to America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, there is an entire chapter to discuss redaction motions.
Bias in NVICP
There has been several actions by Special Masters that show extreme bias on denying redaction of petitioners. One of the more egregious acts was from Special Master Christian Moran and his decision to publicly post a partial fact finding hearing decision from a prominent Gardasil petition. By making this decision public, several pro-pharma bloggers and shills ran with the information and began a public shaming and ridiculing campaign against the petitioner.
Other medical professionals.
There have been several doctors and nurses who have submitted petitions for compensation of their injuries. Most of them have won damage awards. And many of them did not redact their decisions.
So why this doctor?
Maybe because those decisions were several years ago. Or maybe, in today’s climate of absolute obedience to the belief that all vaccines are safe and effective, any information to the contrary cannot be tolerated.
Even if a member of the public health community has been legitimately compensated by the United States Government for vaccine injury.
Wayne Rohde, author of The Vaccine Court – Dark Truth of America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
Louis Conte, author of The Autism War and co-author of Vaccine Injuries
All books published by Skyhorse Publishing – New York City
Wayne, regarding this statement: 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.
I think it was former FDA commissioner David Kessler who was going around speaking to doctors groups "informing" them they were no longer could be held responsible for vaccine injuries after the vaccine act. Vaccinate with reckless abandon.
Posted by: michael | April 03, 2018 at 08:19 PM
Wayne - thanks, John
Posted by: John Stone | April 03, 2018 at 05:55 PM
Here is the article. http://www.ageofautism.com/2015/04/a-tragic-derailment-of-future-plans-as-vaccine-safety-regulators-are-asleep-at-the-switch.html
Posted by: Wayne Rohde | April 03, 2018 at 03:13 PM
.....Sooo 'I' get compensated by the government because a product did me grievous harm. Then I get to continue to earn a living forcing said product on to unsuspecting people because the government is going to protect my identity.
Nice work if you can get it.
Posted by: annie | April 03, 2018 at 03:05 PM
Why redact this professional's name? This is evidence that at least some in the system are not complete hypocrites, not something that should endanger any professional to my mind in a profession that does still admit there is at least a "1 in a million chance" of "serious" reaction, unless there actually is a Nazi-like-you're-inferior-and-should-probably-hurry-up-and-pop-off-of-our-planet attitude held by some promoting vaccination about those who sustain long-term problems after a shot.
It seems more likely this award could be used to argue against other decisions made by the court in denying of petitioners decisions in related cases to me...and/or the system wants to particularly keep the vaccine sellers' feelings in a secure "entitled" zone....don't want any of them strongly experiencing the full reality of what most sustaining vaccine harm experience.
Posted by: Jeannette Bishop | April 03, 2018 at 01:27 PM
Wayne & Lou
I can't find the article or remember the name of the guy, but one or both of you did an article about four years back about a doctor whose wife had been crippled by her holiday shots and successfully won an award for her, but was disparaging about the right of ordinary families - this seems to be typical of the professional hypocrisy. To win the award needed highly specialised medical and legal knowledge, the leisure and financial wherewithal to pursue it etc.
Thank you for reporting again.
Posted by: John Stone | April 03, 2018 at 01:02 PM
Thanks, Wayne and Lou, for continuing to follow the VICP’s denialist shenanigans. Their hypocritical double standards are disgusting.
Posted by: nhokkanen | April 03, 2018 at 11:37 AM
Thank you for this article.
Our case in VICP lasted over four years. After my second meeting with the vaccine injury attorney, I told him in the spoken English language that I did not wish to pursue a claim and to stop all efforts on my behalf. That was in the first month of our claim.
Some four or five years later, i was astounded during a routine compliance audit when my name was entered in Google, the case I had elected to not pursue popped up in the search engine. Our family name, plaintiff name, and the outcome of our "claim"- "denied"- was disclosed- as was the fact that the attorney I had asked to drop the claim had collected over $18,000 in fees associated with our (non) claim.
I wrote a letter to the state bar association complaining of this crappy situation. Of course- nothing happened. I was told that after VICP renders a judgement, the plaintiff has a two week window to request that information about the claim be kept off the public record. Since we did not know there even was a verdict, we could not make that request. Subsequent to our complaint to the bar, the data was removed from the internet.
Posted by: Ottoschnaut | April 03, 2018 at 10:10 AM
Thanks for this article and for Cindy's comment. I had never heard of SIRVA. The last vaccine I got, a few years back, was a tetanus shot...and my shoulder ached for weeks afterward. It was obvious to me that the shoulder issue was related to the vaccine - the swelling started at the site of the injection and went up from there. But I had no idea this was a known side effect. Like most, I did not bother to report it.
I have an adopted adult son with autism. I have no idea whether vaccines contributed to his problems or not. I do know that he had immune system dysfunction from birth (born before Hep B at birth, so that can't be it, either), and I'm pleased to see that research is finally showing correlation of the immune system to autism (something countless docs told me was "coincidence" when I was desperately trying to get treatment for him.)
No more vaccines for me!
Posted by: Vicki Hill | April 03, 2018 at 09:22 AM
I wish I'd known about SIRVA when it happened to me. Instead I was ridiculed and treated for an "unusual" type of RA — for 10 years, all the while being told to continue with my flu shots every year since I now had an autoimmune disease, which put me "at risk for flu." I was on plaquenil for all that time, and my rheumatologist was considering putting me on methotrexate when, one year, I missed my flu shot ... and I started to get better. Finally, an allergist listened to my concerns that the pains and arthritis got worse with every shot. He first validated my complaints by admitting when the nurse "probably" put the shot too high (I had accused her of hitting my shoulder blade, but she told me I needed to "adult up" and behave myself).
But first, my allergist said, before we could believe that it was vaccines that were causing my unending waves of "palindromic" arthritis that always flared up with a vengeance after I got my flu shot, we would need to do "challenge" doses. And so, in November 2007, I submitted to challenge doses of a flu shot, a pneumococcal and a tetanus vaccine. The flu shot arm hurt like hell from the moment it was done — and again, I accused the nurse of going too high on my shoulder, and again, she told me to "just calm down" and "adult up." The other two shots, given in my right arm, weren't nearly as bad at injection time, but the next day my flu shot arm was swollen the size of a softball, and the other arm hurt so bad I couldn't lift it to comb my hair.
By Day 2 I was so sick I had to call off work. I lay in bed in pain, with snot rolling out of my nose, coughing and sneezing for the next week. And the "arthritis" vibrated from my shoulder across my neck and down to the other arm in mammoth, horrific waves. Tears rolled down my face as I lay in bed writhing in pain, it hurt that bad. My rheumatologist gave me Percocet for it. My allergist just shrugged his shoulders and said, "I guess you're just one of those people who can't take vaccines." Three years later a new rheumatologist puzzled over my 10 years of records and said he didn't believe I'd ever had rheumatoid arthritis at all — something my PCP agreed with. In the end, the new rheumatologist surmised that I was vaccine-injured in 1997 when all this began and "most likely" had vaccine-induced arthralgia that was retriggered with every vaccine. He told me not to take any more vaccines, and to come back if I needed him. That was January 2011 and I haven't gone back. And I haven't had to take any arthritis medications either, not even a Tylenol.
But by then it was too late for vaccine court and, besides, I still hadn't heard of SIRVA. The lies that are vaccines need to be exposed. And doctors need to quit telling patients it's all in their heads. And nurses should be fired for telling people like me to "adult up."
Posted by: Cindy | April 03, 2018 at 08:23 AM
"A decision of the Special Master or the court in a proceeding shall be disclosed, except that if the decision is to include information:
1.Which is a trade secret or commercial or financial information which is privileged and confidential, or
2.Which are medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy, and if the person who submitted such information objects to the inclusion of such information in the decision, the decision shall be disclosed without such information."
Under #2 above ... How was it possible for a Special Master to deny a motion by a compensated "petitioner" .. after "petitioner" specifically requested her MEDICAL FILES NOT BE DISCLOSED? The decision to DISCLOSE that information appears to be in clear violation of the PETITIONER'S RIGHT TO PRIVACY.
Of course .. I know why .. because .. the Vaccine Court operates under their OWN rule .. that being .. DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO.
In my humble opinion .. it is morally/ethically/legally incomprehensibly outrageous the "petitioner" was DENIED her RIGHT TO PRIVACY .. while at the very same time the recent lunatic school shooter in Florida .. is afforded HIS RIGHT TO PRIVACY .. thereby making certain the PUBLIC will NEVER KNOW WHAT SSRI'S DRUGS MAY HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN THIS MASS SHOOTINGS.
In other words .. it is not so much the PRIVACY OF THE SHOOTER THAT IS PROTECTED .. IT IS THE PRIVACY OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY'S DANGEROUS SSRI DRUGS THAT IS ALWAYS PROTECTED.
Posted by: bob moffit | April 03, 2018 at 06:36 AM