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Family To Receive $1.5M+ In Vaccine-Autism Award 594

Posted by timothy
from the welcome-to-a-jury-of-your-peers dept.
An anonymous reader, quoting from CBS News, writes "'The first court award in a vaccine-autism claim is a big one. CBS News has learned the family of Hannah Poling will receive more than $1.5 million for her life care, lost earnings, and pain and suffering for the first year alone. In addition to the first year, the family will receive more than $500,000 per year to pay for Hannah's care. Those familiar with the case believe the compensation could easily amount to $20 million over the child's lifetime. ... In acknowledging Hannah's injuries, the government said vaccines aggravated an unknown mitochondrial disorder Hannah had which didn't 'cause' her autism, but 'resulted' in it. It's unknown how many other children have similar undiagnosed mitochondrial disorders. All other autism 'test cases' have been defeated at trial. Approximately 4,800 are awaiting disposition in federal vaccine court.' How did this happen when all the scientific data points otherwise?"
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Family To Receive $1.5M+ In Vaccine-Autism Award

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  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ssherby (1429933) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:58AM (#33543286)
    Is it April Fools day already?
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kilrah_il (1692978) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:56AM (#33543528)

      The parent was modded troll, but sadly he has a point. The only research [wikipedia.org] linking MMR vaccines to Autism (or Autistic-like symptoms) was proven a fake, while countless studies have shown that there is no link (correction: no link was shown. I know the difference). Yet, now we have the government admiting that the vaccine resulted in what happened to the girl.
      The girl had a mithochondrial disease. Although unspecified, many of them cause encephalopathy that can be aggrevated due to many causes. If she had not been given the vaccine, the same would have happened a week/month/a few month later due to the common cold/gatroenteritis/ear infection/ whatever. To say that without the vaccine she would have been fine to this day is naive at best and deceptive at worst.

      So yes, it sounds like a bad April Fools story. Sadly enough, it ain't.

      • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Ssherby (1429933) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @06:13AM (#33543600)

        Thanks for the vindication.

        But unfortunately a few anti-vaccine Nazi types with mod points burning holes in their pockets came tearing through this comment thread not long after I posted that.

        When I first read this and I thought almost immediately about April Fools stories on /. primarily because an estimated 20 million award seems punitive and excessively so. And who is being punished here? You and I and everyone else who had nothing to do with this.

        While I feel sorry for this girl and her family, it is not my fault this happened. And I cannot see how providing care for this girl could possibly cost this kind of money. It would have made more sense to have a reasonable pain and suffering award up front, plus some reasonable standard of living allowance annually, plus the government picking up the tab on all related medical costs. Somehow I doubt the total of which would come anywhere near 20 million

        • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @07:30AM (#33543860) Homepage

          Lawyers have to be paid...it's all part of "medical expenses".

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by aurispector (530273)

            The current "jackpot jury" system is sot irrevocably broken it's not even remotely funny. As a "health care provider" constantly staring at the business end of lawsuits it's clear to me that serious reform is necessary. Monetary awards merely increase costs without addressing quality of care issues.

            As it stands, medical experts duel in front of a layman's jury. The jury isn't qualified to evaluate the data presented and inevitably comes to ridiculous conclusions. All malpractice/medical injury claims sh

            • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by m.ducharme (1082683) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @08:55AM (#33544280)

              While I don't necessarily disagree with your assessment of the problem, I don't think your solution - to have doctors police themselves in malpractice claims - is a very just one. Doctors on a committee have a lot of self-interest in seeing that fewer malpractice awards get handed out, whether deserved or not. Besides, don't the professional colleges already regulate doctors, and mete out penalties including training, suspension or revocation of licenses? None of these things provide any remedy to the person who's been injured by a doctor's negligence.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Swanktastic (109747)

                It doesn't have to be a practicing physician. In the same way that we have judges who are not practicing lawyers, perhaps there's room for medically trained jurors who are not physicians.

                Bankruptcy court is an excellent example. We don't have average joes deciding on the extremely arcane law governing seniority of debt.

                I wish I could point to a link, but I've read articles here and there that examined the results of jury-tried cases versus a blind analysis by panels of physicians. There's almost no corre

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by man_of_mr_e (217855)

                  I don't think it's comparable at all. You're talking about financial professionals reviewing cases of normal people. We're talkinga bout medical professionals reviewing the actions of other medical people. There will always be a conflict of interest there because the medical professionals, even if not practicing, may remember a time when they did something like that and be biased because of it.

                  This is why even appeals courts concentrate on re-reviewing the details of the case, rather than (in most cases)

            • by sartin (238198) <sartin AT acm DOT org> on Saturday September 11, 2010 @08:57AM (#33544286) Homepage
              According to the fine article [cbsnews.com] the case was settled. There was no trial. There was no jury. This is what the government agreed to in order to avoid a trial.
            • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

              by Invicta{HOG} (38763) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @09:20AM (#33544440)

              This is not how vaccination rewards are decided. They are a part of the special VAERS program which is decided by a "vaccine" court NVICP (http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/). There are actually experts who decide compensation. This is all a part of an agreement that recognizes that vaccine makers would not make them if they were liable for litigation in the traditional sense. As a result, the US has set up a special system that pays patients out of a pool of money given by the vaccine makers so that they are protected from the litigation.

              The trial lawyers would love to break this system - this is why you see so much misinformation on the internet. It is a potential bonanza for lawyers and patients and as a result there is a lot of pressure to allow open litigation. This would obviously drive up vaccination costs and possibly lead to shortages or incomplete coverage due to the higher costs of providing care.

              • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

                by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @10:58AM (#33545074) Journal

                Has anyone noticed the summary repeats itself?

                WOW. I had no idea such a system existed. Thanks for the information. A special "vaccine damage" court is a good idea, because it prevents the 1 billion awards we might otherwise see in the normal courts. Also 20 million doesn't sound high to me. If the kid lives another 80 years, that's only 250,000 a year - which is probably how much it would cost to keep the girl alive. I had no idea such a system existed. Thanks for the information. A special "vaccine damage" court is a good idea, because it prevents the 1 billion awards we might otherwise see in the normal courts. Also 20 million doesn't sound high to me. If the kid lives another 80 years, that's only 250,000 a year -

                PENN & TELLER ripped a giant hole in the "vaccines are dangerous" theory using balls and bowling pins. Basically they said, even if we assume the vaccine causes autism, that's still just 1 autistic death per approximately one million children versus ~10,000 dead from communicable disease if they were Not vaccinated. Like gambling you play the odds and take the vaccine because it's less dangerous than going without.

                Long Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aky-sRri-NQ [youtube.com]
                Short Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfdZTZQvuCo [youtube.com]

              • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

                by nbauman (624611) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @12:06PM (#33545608) Homepage Journal

                This is not how vaccination rewards are decided. They are a part of the special VAERS program which is decided by a "vaccine" court NVICP (http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/). There are actually experts who decide compensation.

                Yeah, that I understand, but what I don't understand is why the NVICP makes irrational decisions that favor the people who claim that their injury was caused by a "plausable" mechanism.

                http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp0802904 [nejm.org]

                Unfortunately, in recent years the VICP seems to have turned its back on science. In 2005, Margaret Althen successfully claimed that a tetanus vaccine had caused her optic neuritis. Although there was no evidence to support her claim, the VICP ruled that if a petitioner proposed a biologically plausible mechanism by which a vaccine could cause harm, as well as a logical sequence of cause and effect, an award should be granted. The door opened by this and other rulings...

                No case, however, represented a greater deviation from the VICP's original standards than that of Dorothy Werderitsh, who in 2006 successfully claimed that a hepatitis B vaccine had caused her multiple sclerosis. By the time of the ruling, several studies had shown that hepatitis B vaccine neither caused nor exacerbated the disease, and the Institute of Medicine had concluded that “evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between hepatitis B vaccine and multiple sclerosis...."

                What is this NVICP and why do they accept these unscientific claims of "biologically plausible mechanism"? Are they ignorant of science? Or are they required by the words of the legislation to accept claims like this?

                • by tgibbs (83782) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @03:36PM (#33547310)

                  Yeah, that I understand, but what I don't understand is why the NVICP makes irrational decisions that favor the people who claim that their injury was caused by a "plausable" mechanism.

                  Indeed, the Vaccine Court tilts toward the plaintiff in multiple ways. The government pays the plaintiff's lawyers, win or lose, so there is a big incentive for lawyers to take such cases, even if the chance of winning is slim. And the standard of evidence is lower in the Vaccine Court--basically, compensation is awarded if it is at all plausible that a person's injury could have been caused by the vaccination. And if the plaintiff loses, they still have the option of suing in regular court.

                  However, I think that this is reasonable. Vaccination does not just benefit the person being vaccinated, it benefits society, because the main way in which vaccination prevents disease is not by protecting the individual from infection, but rather by making it impossible for an epidemic to get started in the first place. Immunity to disease (whether from vaccination or previous exposure to the disease) is not absolute--the risk of contracting the disease is reduced, but not to zero. The reason most people do not contract diseases like measles, whooping cough, or polio is that an infection is unable to spread through the population, because on the average an infected person ends up infecting less than one other person. When that is the case, the disease cannot spread, and simply peters out.

                  But when immunization is successful, the disease is virtually eradicated from the entire population. Vaccines are some of the safest effective medical treatments known to man, but they do have risks, albeit very small. But when a disease is nearly eradicated, the risk of the disease to each individual is less than the risk of the vaccine--so long as all of his neighbors are properly vaccinated. So the situation is tailor-made for a "tragedy of the commons," in which each individual pursues his own selfish self interest, and as a result, everybody suffers far more than would have been the case if everybody had cooperated to share a small risk in order to avert a much greater one.

                  So it makes sense to provide a public safety net to compensate everybody who suffers a genuine vaccine injury--because people who get vaccinated are performing a public service. Yes, this will means some people will be compensated who would have gotten sick anyway, and Hannah Poling is very likely one of these. Mitochondrial diseases can be triggered by many stressors, including very minor illnesses, so there is a good chance that something or other would have triggered Hannah's illness even if she hadn't been vaccinated. Indeed, children like Hannah may well be at greater risk if they are not vaccinated, but that is obviously of little comfort to anybody after the fact.

                  So just as our criminal justice system occasionally lets real criminals go free to protect the innocent, the Vaccine Court sometimes rewards unscrupulous lawyers who exploit parents of autistic children, and sometimes provides compensation to people who probably aren't really entitled to it. But that is a small price to pay for providing just compensation for those who actually do suffer genuine harm from vaccination

        • Re:What? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Invicta{HOG} (38763) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @09:14AM (#33544398)

          This money will actually come from a pool of money donated by the vaccine companies in order to pay for known or proven complications of vaccination that was set up so that they are immune from direct litigation. This is not taxpayer money. It doesn't mean it's not a bad decision, however. Or that lawyers aren't trying their hardest to break the current system of vaccination litigation awards so they can make more money in regular courts.

      • Re:What? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Seumas (6865) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @06:47AM (#33543708)

        Hare dare you question Jenny McCarthy! She has been a playboy model **AND** squirted out a child, so she is clearly far more qualified in the field of science, research, and analysis than any of us!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:16AM (#33545206)

          Unfortunately, a Slashdot reader believes that a personal attack will pass muster with this community. We are too smart for that. When doctors talk of obesity they often state, our genetics didn't change, so environmental factors must be contributing to the rise in obesity. The same must be said for Autism. Our genetics did not change, so there must be an environmental factor (or factors). The thing that bothers me is that people become polarized over the issue.

          The parents of Autistic children (I am one) tend to focus too much on one environmental factor (Vaccines) when there are plenty of other factors. They also discount the benefits that vaccines have provided to our society in general. The "informed" community ignores research that does not concur with their point of view while making character attacks by associating those parents with Playboy.

          Both groups have some valid points, but will never make progress while pointing the finger at each other. My hope is that a group will come together with open minds to research Autism no matter where the evidence leads them. For instance:

          The industry that I work in (computers & electronics) seems to be the worst at contaminating the environment. According to National Geographic, electronics account for less than 2% of landfill waste while contributing 70% of landfill toxicity.

          http://s.ngm.com/2008/01/high-tech-trash/computer-interactive

          Funny how the rise in Autism closely matches the rise of this industry. Are there any statisticians interested in looking into this?

          There is also a factor of chemical contamination, which is largely undocumented in public records. Companies can register various chemicals as perfumes, apply for trademark protection, and withhold the chemical composition based on trade secrets.

          http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/01/by_scott_hensley_debates_rage.html

          When it comes to vaccines, however, I am still wary of the methods of sterilization, including the addition of Formaldehyde, Aluminum, and Mercury (still in the multi-dose flu shot). Although I am not a health professional, I understand that many diseases have been mitigated through vaccination, and that vaccines have been very effective. Personally, I would hope that vaccine sterilization is best achieved through gamma radiation of single dose vials. Then again, some people go crazy with the word "radiation".

          I have followed Dr. Wakefield's ethical case, and understand that his methods were at question, and his results have not been duplicated in humans. Although there is a new study which calls the vaccine regimen of the 1990s into question.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20628439

          I also understand that it is not in the interest of vaccine manufacturers to find a link with Autism.

          http://www.askdrsears.com/thevaccinebook/labels/Vaccines%20and%20Autism.asp

          I also suspect that there is a link to the bowel. I don't know an Autistic kid who doesn't have bowel problems, but that is a limited view. For my son, treatment for Candida and the use of probiotics has helped enormously.

          http://www.pnas.org/content/107/33/14691

          http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/peds.2009-1862v1

          When he stops taking probiotics, however, his symptoms reappear. Stool samples have been used to verify the issues. A gluten free / casein free diet helps both Stephen, and the family member with MS.

          http://esciencenews.com/articles/2010/07/21/toxic.trio.identified.basis.celiac.disease

          http://www.jimmunol.org/cgi/content/full/182/7/4158#TI

          I seem to recall a recent Slashdot article about Gluten, but cant find it anymore.

          So what this really comes down to for me is, "You are what you eat, drink, breathe, etc." Autism appears to have both a genetic and environmental component. We have to stop bickering over this crap and start working to resolve the issue. Anybody interested?

          • by Dragonslicer (991472) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:56PM (#33546368)

            hen doctors talk of obesity they often state, our genetics didn't change, so environmental factors must be contributing to the rise in obesity. The same must be said for Autism. Our genetics did not change, so there must be an environmental factor (or factors).

            You're forgetting a third possibility, that it's being diagnosed more frequently (whether correctly or incorrectly is an issue that I'll leave to biological and medical experts). A hundred years ago, we didn't know that Pluto existed, but that doesn't mean that it didn't exist before then.

          • by winwar (114053) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @03:56PM (#33547454)

            "Autism appears to have both a genetic and environmental component. We have to stop bickering over this crap and start working to resolve the issue. Anybody interested?"

            The scientists doing actual science are working to resolve the issue. People who are anti vaccine are not. People who think that Jenny McCarthy or Wakefield have credibility are part of the problem.

            "Funny how the rise in Autism closely matches the rise of this industry. Are there any statisticians interested in looking into this?"

            This perfectly illustrates the level of critical and logical thinking present in the anti vaccine crowd. As well as research ability. There isn't much. We might as well look at the correlation to population, CO2, girl scouts, HFCS, etc. Correlation does not equal causation (oops). Then there has to be a biologically plausible mechanism for exposure (oops). And there has been research (oops). And what you are suggesting is heavy metal poisoning, not autism (oops).

            The rise in autism has everything to do with diagnostics. The definition has expanded, so more people are diagnosed. More services are available for people with autism, so it is beneficial have the diagnosis. There is less stigma for autism, so it is not hidden. Autism was separated from other mental disorders. Etc.

            "When it comes to vaccines, however, I am still wary of the methods of sterilization, including the addition of Formaldehyde, Aluminum, and Mercury (still in the multi-dose flu shot)."

            This perfectly illustrates the level of critical and logical thinking present in the anti vaccine crowd. As well as research ability. There isn't much.
            Formaldehyde is present in the human body at greater levels than present in any vaccine (oops). Aluminum is perfectly safe (oops). The mercury in the shot is not dangerous (oops). Note that a can of tuna has more mercury of a dangerous variety than does any flu shot (oops).

            "I also understand that it is not in the interest of vaccine manufacturers to find a link with Autism."

            I also understand that you are ignorant and lazy. And creating a strawman.

            "I also suspect that there is a link to the bowel. I don't know an Autistic kid who doesn't have bowel problems, but that is a limited view."

            And your point is what? That you think the plural of anecdote is data? That fixing a bowel problem will magically fix a brain problem? That you are clueless and ignorant?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dahamma (304068)

        If she had not been given the vaccine, the same would have happened a week/month/a few month later due to the common cold/gatroenteritis/ear infection/ whatever. To say that without the vaccine she would have been fine to this day is naive at best and deceptive at worst.

        Yep. It's like dying in an at-fault auto accident and blaming the car. Or having a heart attack while playing basketball and blaming the ball. You'd have to be fairly insane to propose outlawing cars and basketballs for those reasons.

        Thi

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by IICV (652597)

        there's nothing that surprising or terrible about this case, actually.

        Hannah Poling has a very very very rare mitochondrial disorder - so rare, in fact, that the usual anti-vax suspects have actually given up on claiming that maybe it's more common than we thought and thus causing this fake "autism epidemic". Winning this judgement is actually less likely than winning the lottery, if you compare the incidence of her condition to the chances of buyimg a winning lottery ticket.

        Furthermore, proof means a diffe

  • Now you know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsotha (720379) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:00AM (#33543296)
    If you ever wondered why drug companies would rather work on yet another allergy medication instead of vaccines with a much bigger potential to help people, well, look no further.
  • by mdenham (747985) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:00AM (#33543304)

    My doctorb has proof that I have a previously unknown mitochondrial disorder that does not cause, but results in, a deep-seated need to receive large quantities of money.

    $2.2 billion dollars would be appreciated as compensation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      the B is for Bargain!
  • Previous condition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Epeeist (2682) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:10AM (#33543348) Homepage

    As was noted in the article, the girl had an underlying condition which the vaccine aggravated. It was a very specific case.

    This does not validate the views of the anti-vaccination brigade.

    • by WarJolt (990309) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:15AM (#33543372)

      Don't be so sure. Think about it. Without a test your child too may have a rare mitochondrial disorder. Without a study no one knows how prevalent the disorder might be. When it comes to parents even vaccines that have a higher chance of saving a life than causing autism become something to worry about.

      • by TheLink (130905)
        The big difference between the mass-vaccines and normal medication is:

        Mass vaccine:
        1) You are not sick when you get it
        2) "Everyone" gets it, very high percentages of the population in some cases.
        3) So some "corner case" might get affected.

        Other medication/treatment:
        1) You are sick when you get it
        2) Only those who are sick with the appropriate disease are supposed to get it.
        3) Many of the "corner cases" might have died of something else before they got to this stage, or their mutant immune system is such tha
        • by DarwinSurvivor (1752106) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @07:11AM (#33543784)
          First of all, the number of people who get sick from a vaccine even closely to the degree they would have with the disease it is so unbelievably small it's not even worth considering.

          Second of all, you are completely ignoring the social side of this. If nobody gets vaccinated, some people will get sick. Without vaccines the disease spreads quickly and eventually (it doesn't take long) a large majority of the population starts getting sick. With vaccines however, the disease is not able to survive further than a few victims and eventually (5 years or so) if nearly everyone is vaccinated, the disease DIES.

          This is exactly what they did to smallpox in North America. They vaccinated so many people (pretty much everyone over 30-40 has the scar from it) that the disease is almost unheard of in North America. In fact, if it's so much as suspected at a hospital, the entire place is put into lockdown.

          1 person out of 5000 getting sick from a vaccine (generously bad number) is nothing compared to what happens when people don't get vaccinated and the disease hits everyone. Remember, if you don't get vaccinated for something, the main reason is probably that most people around you DID. So stop being selfish and help SOLVE the problem!
        • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @07:35AM (#33543886)

          You said something fascinating that caught my eye:

          > So there is actually a higher chance that the vaccine could make you worse off than you were before you got it.

          This doesn't seem to be correct. Applying any medication to someone who is already ill is riskier than applying it to a healthy person: between allergies, mistakes in dosage, infections from visiting a hospital or mishandling needles, and allergic reactions that are far more dangerous in an ill person, the risk seems higher.

          The problem is in the "benefit" side. The risk of getting polio or German measles today is small, so for an individual to refuse the vaccine significantly reduces their risk of such negative consequences, and creates only a miniscule risk for them of infection. The problem is when enough personally cautious people refuse the vaccine that a threshold of vulnerability is crossed and the disease becomes far more common, and the risk is increased, and especially if the disease mutates slightly and becomes drug-resistant or requires new vaccines. We do not want to see polio or German measles become rampant again.

          And we had the opportunity, several times now, to entirely eliminate polio. The vaccine was ready, the last active strains of it could have been wiped off the planet (with digital storage of the DNA, just in case a sample was hidden somewhere). The remaining nations with transmitted cases are Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to WHO. Why does the disease still exist there? Because of war and fear of poison, especially of sterilizing poisons administered by foreign governments to control native population. By the time natives who understood enough biochemistry to attest to the vaccine's effectiveness and safety could be gathered, the stockpiles of vaccine for Nigeria, for example, had expired and were a complete waste of UN money.

          Parents in the US refusing vaccines are doing the same thing. They're actually extending the lifespan of the particular diseases by leaving infectable children as a significant part of the population, enough to keep the diseases active.

    • by PrinceAshitaka (562972) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @06:26AM (#33543648) Homepage
      FTFA,

      "The vaccine didn't cause the disorder, it resulted in it. "

      I want to ask these parents, this judge, how many horrible deaths of young children from preventable deseases they are then liable for? The parents, lawyers and judge will not cause the deaths of these children, but thier actions certainly will result in the horrible deaths of children from preventable deseases.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I have no problem with this family getting money to help thier child, my problem is the way it was done, it willnot be clear to many parents that this doesn't mean that vacconations cause autism.
  • by Mathinker (909784) * on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:12AM (#33543360) Journal

    > How did this happen .... ?

    Every time you go to court, there will be a certain amount of randomness in the outcome, because the legal system isn't run by mathematical logic, it is run by humans (lawyers, judges, juries) and they are notoriously unpredictable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:23AM (#33543398)

    I truly feel for people who have complications as the result of taking any medicine, but if you consider the vast numbers of people who receive vaccinations with no issues at all, the side-effect cases are extremely minute. Like everything else the American health care system ails from these days, all these successful lawsuits will do is push researchers and pharmaceutical companies to cease development and production of vaccinations as their insurance rates etc go up. Only when people have to see their child die from what would have been an easily prevented disease, or watch his/her body broken by something like polio, will they realize how much vaccines are needed and how f'ed up our lawsuit happy country has gotten.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>but if you consider the vast numbers of people who receive vaccinations with no issues at all, the side-effect cases are extremely minute

      Are they? A friend of mine had her baby immunized, took it home, and then it went into seizures a few hours later. Nearly died.

      The asked the doctor in the ER if it could have been caused by the vaccines. He said, "Not a chance, there's no evidence they cause seizures." And then promptly didn't file it as a possible complication from the vaccine.

      Chicken. Egg.

      • by Fumus (1258966) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @06:36AM (#33543674)

        Call me a bastard, but it would save the family $20 million if that child just died. Sure, helping a child without a leg, or allergic to glucose even, is much more reasonable, because they will eventually get to be adults who have some kind of job and generally can 'have a life' that they can support. But if you spend $500 thousand per year on someone, how do you justify it? For that much money you could keep a lot more children in perfect health and give them an 'ideal' upbringing so that they will have an enjoyable and full life on their own.
        Life ain't fair. Shame we don't have natural predators to kill such people like me and her.

  • by mayberry42 (1604077) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:26AM (#33543408)

    All other autism 'test cases' have been defeated at trial. Approximately 4,800 are awaiting disposition in federal vaccine court.' How did this happen when all the scientific data points otherwise?"

    I'm certainly not a doctor and may be misunderstanding this, but the way i think of it is this: when you execute someone, you provide with them a "lethal dose" of poison. In reality, there is no such thing as a "lethal dose", but rather it's defined as something that is 99.9999% (or whatever) percent likely that you'll kill someone given his/her physical conditions. Yet naturally, some survive - but that doesn't make it any good for you. Same with vaccination: yes, some rare people may have developed some condition that counteracts the benefits of the vaccines, but that doesn't mean it's bad for you.

    So, ultimately, this in itself doesnt contradict previous studies - in this case we're dealing with an isolated case (the so-called statistical "outlier"), whereas before you were (presumably) dealing with a random selection of individuals, representative of the general population

    what really concerns me more, however, are the possible repercussions of this asinine decision. They get so obsessed over isolated cases that they completely neglect the larger picture. To quote another poster:

    If you ever wondered why drug companies would rather work on yet another allergy medication instead of vaccines with a much bigger potential to help people, well, look no further.

  • Terrible... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 16K Ram Pack (690082) <tim.almond@g m a i l . c om> on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:30AM (#33543418) Homepage

    Five years later, the government settled the case before trial and had it sealed.

    In just about every way imaginable, this is the wrong thing to do. We're now going to have more fear-mongering about vaccines with everyone pointing at this case, and because it's sealed, no-one will know why.

    It sounds terrible that vaccine + undiagnosed mitochondrial disorder can result in autism, but what happened should be open so that we can learn from it.

  • by mykos (1627575) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @06:14AM (#33543602)
    There are book authors, researchers, and television commentators who build their entire careers on the fears of parents.

    When someone, anyone, comes along and offers a cut-and-dried explanation to a common problem ("Tour child is autistic? It was vaccines!"), they cling to the idea. The author/commentator/researcher has given them a target for their fears and misunderstandings. Like and angry lynch mob, they will accept the first target they can, regardless of the facts. They are blinded by their desperation to know what went wrong with their child's health, and their threshold for truth is set very, very low.
  • by jaffray (6665) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @07:14AM (#33543800)

    The following article from the New England Journal of Medicine has a good summary of why the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program exists, and why some of its recent decisions, including the award in the Poling case, have been problematic. Basically, since 2005 the policy has been to concede cases where petitioners establish a plausible theory by which their injury could have been caused by the vaccine, rather than requiring proof or even scientific evidence that the vaccine caused said injury.

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp0802904 [nejm.org]

    See also the Wikipedia article on the program, which also discusses the Poling case.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccine_court [wikipedia.org]

  • Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by RenHoek (101570) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @07:29AM (#33543856) Homepage

    Recently on Penn & Teller's Bullshit, how the anti-vaccination movement is bullshit.

    Part 1/2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aky-sRri-NQ [youtube.com]
    Part 2/2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gnxci5tezZY [youtube.com]

    I strongly suggest you have a look at it.

  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @07:41AM (#33543918)

    I'm taking estradiol valerate for hormone replacement therapy. Now it's quite possible that I might have some undiagnosed predisposition to breast cancer or some other disease that is dependent on estrogen or even just the compounds used in its delivery, but if this turns out to be the case I'd be a bloody fool to start suing people for it, because it's not as if I would have gone without the medication if I knew there was a 1 in 10.000 chance it could kill me. No, seriously, between people smoking, driving without a seatbelt and eating garbage, I just don't believe that any rational person would abstain from important medical treatment due to a very minor chance of complications, unless of course they've been pressured to do so by the kind of fear mongering nonsense you've seen against the MMR vaccine.

  • by ishobo (160209) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @12:32PM (#33545812)

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/09/cbs_news_resident_anti-vaccine_propagand.php#comments [scienceblogs.com]

    This sums it up

    I can't believe that any sentient being would take the Hannah Poling case as an indication that vaccines cuase autism.

    To begin with, Ms. Poling has a mitochondrial abnormality - which preceded any vaccination, not to mention her birth - which makes her inordinately sensitive to - among other things - fever. In this case, the government has conceded that the vaccine(s) she received caused a fever (which is a common side effect of vaccines) which more likely than not (50% plus a feather) was the proximal cause of a neurological injury.

    Secondly, Ms. Poling - while she may have many aspects of autism - is not similar to the vast majority of autistic children (and adults). She is acknowledged to have an atypical case of autism. Also, technically, it can't be "autism" if there is a known neurological injury.

    Finally, vaccines are not unique in their ability to cause Ms. Poling's neurological injury. Any febrile illness (including, I must add, all vaccine-preventable illnesses) could have done the same. This is analogous to a person struck while crossing a busy freeway - there are numerous vehicles which could have done the injury, but the unlucky chap who hits the pedestrian gets the blame.

    If Ms. Poling had come down with influenza or even a nasty adenovirus prior to getting her vaccinations, she would be just as "autistic" as she is now, but she wouldn't be exploited by the anti-vaccination movement. I suppose I can't blame her parents for using the established legal process to get money for her care, but I do find opportunists like Mr. Doherty highly offensive./blockquote>

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