MMR Vaccine Victim in U.S. Claims Court

" In excruciating detail, an Arizona mother on Monday described severe autism and devastating health problems that plague her 12-year-old daughter and asked a court to find common childhood vaccines were the cause. The test case is being closely watched by nearly 5,000 families of autistic children who have lodged similar claims for compensation from a federal fund. The case of Michelle Cedillo, of Yuma, Ariz., is the first alleging a vaccine-autism link to be heard in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. It and eight other test cases are important because they will guide the handling of the other pending claims......Theresa Cedillo said her daughter suffered five days of fever, her temperature often spiking to 105 degrees, after receiving a measles, mumps and rubella vaccination at age 15 months. Michelle was a happy, robust, responsive and loving child - in short, normal - but hasn't been the same since, her mother told the court. Wearing noise-canceling headphones, Michelle was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair at the start of the proceedings. She stayed only a short time, moaning audibly several times. Besides autism, Michelle suffers from inflammatory bowel disease, glaucoma and epilepsy. In addition, her bones, weakened by years of malnourishment, are prone to breaks, Theresa Cedillo said. Everything she eats is pumped in through a feeding tube, except for crackers and water." - Andrew Bridges, Associated Press June 11,2007

"The court is being asked to decide whether there is a link between autism and childhood vaccines. If it finds one exists, the families could be eligible for compensation under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund, a program established by Congress to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines by safeguarding manufacturers from lawsuits. Under the program, people injured by vaccines receive compensation through a special trust fund. Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction. Those affected often have trouble communicating, and they exhibit unusual or severely limited activities and interests. Classic symptoms of mercury poisoning include anxiety, fatigue and abnormal irritation, as well as cognitive and motor dysfunction. Monday's case addresses the theory that the cause of autism is the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in combination with other vaccines containing thimerosal. The preservative, about 50 percent mercury by weight, is no longer found in routine childhood vaccines but is used in some flu shots. In July 1999, the U.S. government asked vaccine manufacturers to eliminate or reduce, as expeditiously as possible, the mercury content of their vaccines to avoid any possibility of infants who receive vaccines being exposed to more mercury than is recommended by federal guidelines. " - CBS Evening News

" Concerns about thimerosal's possible link to autism have gained publicity in recent years as the occurrence of autism in children has climbed steadily in the United States. Doctors have struggled to find a clinical reason for the increase. Because vaccinations are mandatory for all children at a certain age, some parents and doctors believe the vaccines indicate a common link that cannot be ignored. However, current research weighs heavily against the premise of a thimerosal-autism link, as thus far a number of large scientific studies have shown no association between the two........The bottom line is that vaccines prevent life-threatening and life-risking diseases," AAP's McMillan said. "It is about the most effective public health measure we have. It is very important that we do not allow misinformation to affect that. "In the case of the MMR [measles-mumps- rubella] vaccine, we know that it prevents diseases that can injure and kill children," said Dr. Gary Freed, director of general pediatrics for the University of Michigan Health System." - ABC Evening News

Barbara Loe Fisher Commentary:

This week, special masters in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims began hearing the case of Theresa Cedillo and Michael Cedillo, as parents and natural guardians of Michelle Cedillo v. Secretary of Health and Human Services. The parents are bringing a vaccine injury claim on behalf of their 12 year old daughter, Michelle, who developed normally until she received an MMR vaccination at 15 months and, within 7 days, suffered a high fever, rash and symptoms of brain inflammation that was followed by mental and physical regression. Michelle, now 12, suffers from brain and immune system dysfunction, including autism.

The federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) was created under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 as a no fault, non- adversarial alternative to suing a vaccine manufacturer or pediatrician, who negligently administers a vaccine, for vaccine-related injuries and deaths. The VCIP was created 1986 after drug companies making vaccines threatened to leave the nation without a vaccine supply unless they were shielded from liability. Nearly two billion dollars has been awarded to vaccine victims since then, with money for awards being obtained from a surcharge on vaccines that is placed in a national trust fund. The trust fund currently has a several billion dollar surplus in it because the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice, which defend the government in vaccine injury claims, fight almost every claim.

The majority of the VICP awards that have been awarded after years of legal proceedings, have been made for brain inflammation and encephalopathy caused by the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine in the DPT or DTaP shot but awards for MMR, polio and several other vaccines have also been made.

Pertussis vaccine-induced brain inflammation and measles vaccine induced brain inflammation has been documented in the medical literature:

The large case controlled National Childhood Encephalopathy Study (NCES) conducted in Britain in 1981 found that "there were statistically significant associations between the onset of various neurological disorders notified and immunization with DTP vaccine within the previous 7 days and with measles vaccine within the 7 to 14 days, before is estimate that the attributable risk of a serious neurological disorder within seven days after DTP vaccine in previously normal children irrespective or eventual clinical outcome is 1 in 110,000 immunizations.....the corresponding rate for previously normal children with evidence of persistent neurological damage one year later is 1 in 310,000 immunizations." The NCES study also found that "the risk of a serious neurological disorder within 14 days after measles vaccine in previously normal children irrespective of eventual clinical outcome is 1 in 87,000 immunizations."

No large case controlled studies comparable to the methodology employed by NCES investigating potential causes of brain dysfunction in children, including the receipt of one or more vaccines in early childhood, has been conducted since NCES was published in 1981.

The VICP was not originally designed to be a federal imitation of bringing a product liability or malpractice lawsuit in civil court. Compensation was to be awarded based on "presumption" in the absence of a more plausible explanation for a child's health deterioration after vaccination, not "scientific proof" the vaccine or vaccines caused the child's injury. A Table of Compensable Events included in the 1986 law listed clinical symptoms and time periods within which symptoms occur following DPT, MMR and polio vaccination to serve as a guide for presumption of causation.

However, in 1995 federal health officials and Justice Department lawyers gutted the Table of Events by re-writing the definition of encephalopathy and removing symptoms and health conditions, such as residual seizures, that would automatically presume causation so that very few children would quality for automatic compensation under the Table guidelines. New vaccines, including HIB, hepatitis B, varicella zoster, pneumococcal, rotavirus, influenza, meningococcal, hepatitis A, were added to the VICP to protect the vaccine manufacturers and physicians from liability for injuries and deaths related to those vaccines but presumption guidelines were not added to the Table of Compensable Events.

Therefore, today almost all vaccine injured claims are argued off-Table and the process for obtaining compensation has become highly adversarial, traumatic, and time consuming, with two out of three vaccine victims turned away for compensation. The special masters have become judge and jury presiding over combatants on an uneven playing field, not facilitators of administration of vaccine injury claims. A federal vaccine injury compensation program that was supposed to re-instill public faith in the mass vaccination system has become a source of mistrust of the system.

To listen live or to listen to audio tapes of U.S. Court of Claims proceedings, click here:

Daily transcripts can also be viewed at:
Day 1, June 11, 2007 transcripts
Day 2, June 12, 2007 transcripts
Day 3, June 13 transcripts
Day 4, June 14, 2007 and upcoming trancripts
Soon will be available on-line.



jane said...

I hope the woman gets a good compensation claim to help look after her child. Its very sad when something of this nature happens

Anonymous said...

I knew someone that his daughter was never the same after her MMR. After watching an episode on 60 minutes, we recommended the "pig serum" for her and now she acknowledges them. This vaccine autism issue is imperative to further the continuation of research and science in making health care for children better. We are all at risk and pray the game of vaccine Rushian roullet will be eliminated. No monetary award will ever compensate for the life of a child but it is a start and a way to alert the public that their is another truth out there.
My own daughter is suffering from complications of the Guardal vaccine and we had trusted all those knowledgeable and didn't believe that we could be at risk.
We must acknowledge this autism issue is a truth and then go forward from there to protect other children.