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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Vaccination lies

    Over the last decade in
    the United States, the deaths of over 100 children — at the
    very least — have been linked to receiving a measles
    vaccine, compared with zero children dying from the
    disease itself, according to the U.S. government’s own
    compiled data. Put another way, an American child would
    have been infinitely more likely to die after receiving a
    measles shot, percentage-wise, than from getting the actual
    measles disease in the last ten years. Thousands more
    have suffered from adverse reactions to the measles shot
    and other vaccines. The explosive numbers have massive
    implications for public health efforts, analysts said.

    Of course, the establishment media entirely failed to report those figures as it hysterically demonized “anti-vaxxer” parents — at least
    until the facts went viral in the alternative press. USA Today even published an especially unhinged screed encouraging the jailing of
    parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, though it was not clear whether the Amish and other religious communities would be
    included in the proposed mass-roundups. Now, elements of the increasingly discredited and wildly mischaracterized “mainstream”
    media are engaged in a ham-handed damage-control effort.







  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Re: Vaccination lies

    Testimony before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, Committee on Government Reform

    Sept 1999

    My name is Marcel Kinsbourne. I am a pediatric neurologist; my curriculum vitae has been provided. I have served as an expert witness for Petitioner in many actions under the terms of the 1986 National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act, from when these proceedings began in 1988. Before that, I lectured on neurological aspects of vaccine injury at the two-day training workshop for prospective Special Masters, that was held at the U.S. Court of Claims. I have also testified both for plaintiff and defendant in civil litigation. I am therefore in a position to compare the prevailing practice in vaccine injury litigation at the U.S. Court of Claims with practice in civil litigation. On August 3, 1999, I testified before the Committee on Government Reform on the issue of vaccine safety. My current testimony addresses the three issues that the Subcommittee has chosen for its deliberations.

    The adversarial nature of Vaccine Act litigation

    The Vaccine Act was introduced in 1986, in the context of a mounting volume of litigation against vaccine manufacturers, especially with respect to the DPT vaccine. It had come to the point that vaccine manufacturers threatened to abandon making this product. The Vaccine Act sought to provide claimants with an alternative to lawsuits, which was intended to proceed "quickly, easily, and with certainty and generosity". Initially, petitions were indeed dealt with in a non-adversarial manner, with the benefit of the doubt given to the Petitioner. This soon changed, and Respondent’s defense against petitions on behalf of allegedly vaccine-injured people, mostly children, has become increasingly stubborn and aggressive, to the point that in its spirit, it is now indistinguishable from the adversarial manner in which some civil lawsuits are conducted.

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys make full use of the apparently limitless resources available to them, in order to defeat petitions. They increasingly often substitute one expert for another if the opinion rendered by the first is unfavorable or seems not to impress the Court (or one theory for another), or recruit multiple experts for a single case, as against Petitioner’s usually single expert. Multiple Entitlement Hearings result. The DOJ has retained and paid a group of professional investigators to perform a scientific study for litigation purposes, to reopen and defeat claims (Hanlon v. Sec HHS, Plavin v. Sec HHS) for which entitlement had previously been found. This was a considerable expense that Petitioner’s attorneys could not remotely emulate under present rules. If the Court’s decision in a particular case is unwelcome to the Justice Department attorney, he or she increasingly often reopens issues at the Damages Hearing that automatically follows, that are similar in nature to the arguments that failed at the stage of Entitlement. As a result, Damages Hearings threaten to become as burdensome to Petitioners as Entitlement Hearings. If after all this the outcome remains unfavorable to Respondent, the DOJ attorneys increasingly often resort to the multistage appeals process. The process is adversarial at every step.

    Another tactic that is increasing in frequency is an attempt to discredit Petitioner’s expert in the eyes of the Court by means of accusations of bias. A striking instance occurred in the most recent Hearing in which I testified (Flanagan v. Sec HHS). The DOJ attorney filed the statement that I had submitted to the Committee on Government Reform ahead of my testimony on August 3, 1999, as an Impeachment Exhibit. Her point was not that my testimony was flawed; when she cross-examined me she challenged none of it. She was content to have me acknowledge that this did represent a submission that I had made at the invitation of a Congressional Committee. Her point was that the fact that I had testified at all before the Committee impeaches my credibility as an objective medical expert (Closing argument, Transcript page 164, lines 21-25):

    "The fact that he recently testified before Congress about a number of issues, but in particular, about his views on the problems with this program I think also shows that, to some degree, he is an advocate on behalf of the Petitioners, and Dr. Holmes is not."

    I am confining my testimony to matters of which I have direct knowledge. But I do not believe that my experience is unique. I believe that the other medical experts, as well as Life Care Planners, retained by Petitioners, have had similar experiences.

    The Special Masters continue to do their best to maintain objectivity, although they appear to be very conscious of the threat of appeals by Respondent. They also maintain a courteous and compassionate attitude toward the families that petition for compensation. They implement relaxed rules of procedure at the Hearings. Finally, they do their best to move the cases along in a timely fashion. This, however, becomes increasingly difficult as the defense stiffens, and families who are ultimately compensated often have waited for many years for this to happen. The Flanagan matter in which I testified last month was filed in 1991.

    At the Committee’s previous Hearing, I heard mention of two years as typical for the resolution of a claim under the Act. Even two years without interim funding for fees and expenses is burdensome. But in my experience, cases that are contested and finally resolved in favor of Petitioner often take much longer, four or five years, and even nine or ten. This contrasts with the initial expectation of Congress, in 1986, that the proceedings would last nine months at the outside.

    I recognize from my experience of testifying in civil cases that the aggressive approach that I have outlined is not unusual in adversarial proceedings. I question whether it is consistent with the intent of Congress, at the time when the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act was first formulated. By no stretch of the imagination can it be presented as nonadversarial or generous to Petitioner.

    Changes in the criteria for a presumption of causation

    The scientific basis for establishing causation in vaccine injury is complicated by the lack of disorders that are known only to be caused by a particular vaccine, and the unavailability of specific laboratory tests that identify vaccine injury. Neurological diseases of children, such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, mental retardation and autism, are caused by many different factors, and one usually cannot determine simply from what currently ails the child what in his case was the cause. Even after all pertinent tests have been done, the cause often still remains uncertain. So it is with neurological vaccine injuries. The inference that a vaccine injury has occurred can often be neither confirmed nor disconfirmed based on peer-reviewed scientific studies alone, since in many cases the relevant studies have simply not been performed. The argument that the onset of a disorder for which compensation has been claimed was coincidental with, and not caused by, the vaccination, can be adjudicated by epidemiological studies, but these are usually found not to have been performed. Several reports of the Institute of Medicine have pointed to the absence of studies based on which the Committee could determine whether certain complaints can be caused by particular vaccines or not. As new vaccines are now being introduced at an increasing rate, this absence of studies is becoming an even more serious problem.

    The Act in its initial form introduced criteria for a presumption of causation that eased the burden on Petitioner to present scientific studies that simply have not been performed. Where there was uncertainty, Petitioner was given the benefit of the doubt. This was particularly important with respect to claims dealing with the pertussis vaccine, which have constituted the great majority of claims filed up to now. Starting in 1995, the Secretary of HHS has made the criteria for presumption of causation so much more stringent and demanding that the presumption is now unavailable to almost all claimants. The Secretary has effectively changed the guidelines for entitlement from a "mighty very well be due to" to a "no question that" criterion. These additional restrictions on entitlement were implemented in the absence of any new or recent scientific findings that might justify such changes. To the contrary, successive findings of the Institute of Medicine (1990, 1994) have increasingly confirmed the reality of pertussis vaccine brain injury.

    An instance of a severe rollback of the presumption of causation is the redefined criterion for encephalopathy, a major subject of pertussis vaccine injury claims. Encephalopathy was redefined so that the diagnosis requires as a sine qua non in excess of 24 hours of a diminished level of consciousness, a criterion which is far more restrictive than that of the leading epidemiological study of pertussis vaccine injury, the British National Childhood Encephalopathy Study (NCES). Moreover, seizures have been removed from the Table, although that the pertussis vaccine can cause seizures is uncontested (and warned in the manufacturer’s package insert), and although the NCES found a significant association between a severe seizure and DPT administration in the preceding three days (a finding that was endorsed by the Institute of Medicine). Essentially, the presumption of causation has been restricted to the point that it has become tantamount to causation-in-fact. It therefore no longer renders "the benefit of the doubt" to Petitioner, let along any "generosity". Almost all claims for injury by the pertussis vaccine must now meet causation-in-fact criteria, initiating a lengthy and arduous process, that is often unproductive because the relevant science is unavailable. Given the great expense and difficulty of prevailing with a Vaccine Act claim as to pertussis vaccine injury, there has been a resurgence of lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers, a development that the Act was intended to render unnecessary. Indeed, a plaintiff may well now find it easier and quicker to prevail in civil litigation than in the U.S. Court of Claims.

    The dearth of relevant science on which to base a causation-in-fact Petition becomes an even more serious problem when the claim is for an injury inflicted by a newly marketed vaccine, not listed in the Table of qualifications for a presumption of causation. If Petitioner has to produce nonexistent studies to prevail, he or she essentially remains without a remedy. To avoid this undesirable outcome, it is necessary to establish a Table of presumptive causation for the newer vaccines, that lists Table injuries on a "might very well be due to" basis. An example might be the causation of autoimmune diseases by Hepatitis B vaccine.

    In sum, the initial intention of Congress, that a relatively informal, generous and friendly process, concluded in a timely fashion, would offer claimants an attractive alternative to launching lawsuits against drug manufacturers, has been undermined. Among the Legislative changes recently proposed by HHS are ones that would undermine it still more. I believe that the current criteria for a presumption of vaccine injury need review and revision. Some revised criteria should be revised back to their original formulations.

    Funding for future needs

    Up to recently, the great majority of claims were filed with respect to injuries caused by the whole cell pertussis vaccine. Now that an acellular vaccine is available, I expect a greatly diminished rate of injury from vaccination against whooping cough. But this will only occur if the continuing use by some pediatricians of the less safe whole cell vaccine is halted.

    The prospect of fewer claims with respect to pertussis vaccine is offset by the continuing introduction of new vaccines, with ill-researched and ill-understood adverse side effects. It is also offset by the increasing practice of combining the administration of multiple vaccines, a practice the safety of which has barely been investigated. Finally, if less adversarial procedures are introduced, more petitions will be recognized to have merit.

    Obviously, significant funding will be required for the foreseeable future. However, I learned at the previous hearing that there is a "surplus" of 1.4 billion dollars in the Trust Fund (though how this sum is a surplus, given pending and anticipated petitions, escapes me). The monies in the Trust Fund contributed by citizens as a compulsory surcharge on vaccines should continue to be used only for the purpose for which they were intended, namely, to compensate victims of vaccine injury.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Re: Vaccination lies

    Testimony of Michelle Clements
    Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources
    U.S. House Government Reform Committee
    September 28, 1999

    Chairman Mica and Members of the Committee:

    I want to thank you for the opportunity to share my life and the life of my child with you.

    The day I found out I was pregnant with my second son, Andrew, was a great joy. We couldn’t wait for his entry into this world. It took us three months to pick his name because it was something we wanted him to be proud of throughout his life. "Strong, kingly and manly" is the meaning of his name. On January 31st of 1992, he entered this world a healthy, beautiful baby boy. We wanted the best for him as we did for our other son, Michael.

    We don’t allow smoking, drinking or drugs in our home because we want a safe and healthy environment for our children. We took our sons to the doctor for their well care checkups as scheduled and vaccinated them because it was the best way to protect them from life threatening illnesses. We didn’t know about all the adverse reactions that can come with vaccinating our children.

    On August 6th of 1992, we were thrown into a world that many experience but few know little about: the horror of what the DPT vaccine can do to some children.

    My husband, Scott took seven month old Drew in for his checkup and third DPT shot. I asked my husband to make sure the doctor gave Drew a check-up to see that all was well with him before he got his shots. I called Scott from work after the doctors’ appointment to find out how Drew was doing. My husband explained that Drew had been sleeping since his shots and I thought - good - because after Drew’s second DPT shot he had cried for a very long time.

    When I got home from work, Scott told me that Drew had been sleeping most of the day and was still sleeping. Scott went to work and I woke up Drew so he could eat but he went back to sleep again. When Scott got home from work later that night, he was passing by our boys’ room and heard a strange, rasping sound coming from the room. He checked on Mike, who was fine, and then realized that the sound must have come from Andrews’ crib.

    When he got to Andrews’ crib he had the shock of his life. Our little boy wasn’t breathing and he was as pale as a China doll. Scott yelled for me to come and asked me WHAT IS THIS? All I saw was my baby laying in his father’s arms as limp as a rag doll and as white as a China doll. I ran downstairs and grabbed the phone and dialed 911 but I was in such shock that I forgot my address and street name.

    Scott followed me and handed me Andrew and I realized for the first time that my baby wasn’t breathing. I did CPR on him and after the second breath I gave him, he took in a deep breath himself. The color came back into him and he appeared to be sleeping.

    The Fire Department came. Half of the men worked on Drew while the other half followed me to the boys’ room. I showed them Andrew’s crib and the puddle of fluids we found him lying in. One firefighter told us that he believed that Drew had had a convulsion. He said Drew was very warm and asked for some ice bags to cool him down. They told us Andrew would have to go to the hospital.

    Andrew was transported to the hospital in an ambulance and by the time he got to the hospital he was in the middle of another violent convulsion that was so bad they wouldn’t let me in the room with him. Finally he stopped convulsing and the doctors explained that this may be the only time he convulses and it may never happen again.

    One month later, he was crawling on the floor when all of a sudden he collapsed and began to jerk his arms and legs while his head went backwards and his neck stiffened. I grabbed him and told Scott to call 911 and at the hospital they explained to us again that sometimes children have seizures and they grow out of them.

    Between the ages of 6 months and three and a half years old, Andrew had 84 seizures, the shortest being 15 minutes and the longest being one and a half hours. Almost always, Andrew would run an unexplained fever with the seizures even though he wasn’t sick. One doctor told me the fevers he ran with his seizures was because his body thermostat had been damaged and his body could not regulate his temperature like it should. Still, with all those seizures, the miracle was that Andrew learned to walk and talk. At three, he could count up to 20 and he knew his colors and shapes. We had learned to live with his seizures even though we always lived in fear that one day he would have a really long seizure that would damage our bright, loving, intelligent little boy.

    On the night of September 8th of 1995 our worst nightmare came to life when Andrew went into a seizure that lasted four and a half hours. Standing by helplessly as our son seized for four and a half hours while his temperature climbed to 108.8 degrees is an experience no parent should have to go through. When Andrew finally stopped seizing and we were allowed to see him in the ICU, to our horror we saw a child double the size he was when he came into the hospital. When we asked what happened, they took us out of his room. At 7 a.m. in the morning, a doctor told us that Andrew’s kidneys and liver were failing.

    When we finally got to see our son again, he looked like another child. We couldn’t hold him because he had a dozen tubes hanging off him. A special bed rotated his body, keeping his body at one temperature and massaging him at the same time.

    At 9 a.m., we were told by the doctor - and I will never forget those words - we were told: "YOUR SON IS DYING AND - SO THAT YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM SAYING - HE WILL DIE BEFORE 12 PM TODAY. If you want to see him alive, you better call anyone who wants to see him now. Here is a phone you can use. Are you OK? Mrs. Clements, are you all right?"

    Not knowing what to say, I said "NO, not my baby over and over again. He didn’t go through 84 seizures to die. God has a great use for his life. He didn’t bring him through all these seizures to die now."

    Every organ in Andrew’s body was damaged and was functioning at only 10 percent. Andrew didn’t die that day as the doctors said he would. By the grace of God, he hung on to life. On September 11, Andrew slipped into a coma.

    Andrew was in the hospital for four months while we waited for him to come out of his coma. During that time, I called our lawyer, Victor Harding, to tell him what had happened. Mr. Harding was representing Andrew in the U.S. Court of Claims which hears vaccine injury compensation cases and he told us that the government had offered us $350,000 to take care of Andrew.

    All I could think of was how unfair it was. My son is fighting for his life. He may die. If he lives, we don’t know what kind of condition he will be in. And the government is telling us that all Andrew is worth - if he lives - is $350,000? That amount isn’t going to begin to be enough to care for a severely brain injured child for the rest of his life. I told our lawyer: "You can tell those government lawyers where they can file that offer."

    As you can see, Andrew did live. He fought bravely to live. Andrew is a hero. And now it is my job as his mother to fight for him to have the best kind of life that I can give him.

    Andrew can’t walk or talk. He can’t can’t eat or drink. He has to be fed through a tube in his stomach. Sometimes we give him tiny tastes of food. I will put a drop of apple sauce or pudding on the tip of my finger and put it on his tongue but it can’t be too much or he could choke because he can’t swallow. His body is seven years old but his brain is like a 3 month old.

    I was a good parent. I did what the government and the doctors told me to do and I gave my son the DPT vaccine. And now he is crippled. His life has been sacrificed. And instead of being treated kindly and fairly by the government’s vaccine injury compensation program, we have been treated unkindly and unfairly.

    You may be wondering how we found out about the vaccine compensation program. It wasn’t from anyone in the medical field. We found out from a stranger who had heard about what happened to Drew. Her son died from the DPT vaccination. She referred us to a lawyer and sent us information about the DPT vaccine.

    Reading the information, I felt like I had just been transported into another world: a world that I didn’t believe could exist in our country where the government keeps such information from us that could help us protect our children from becoming retarded. I didn’t know that when Andrew screamed for hours after his second DPT shot at four months that it was a warning sign that the shot might not be good for him. I didn’t know that in 1992 there was a safer DPT shot called DtaP vaccine that causes fewer reactions. I wish Andrew had had a chance to get the DtaP vaccine instead of DPT.

    When we met with our lawyer, Victor Harding, he told us about applying to the vaccine injury compensation program and what to expect from the government. He said that a lot of children like Andrew are denied compensation or offered so little money that it wouldn’t be enough to take care of him for the rest of his life. Like I said earlier, when my son was on what we thought was his death bed, the government offered us $350,000. We turned it down and proceeded to the next step.

    We had to fly to Washington, D.C. for our compensation claim hearing in the winter of 1998. My stomach was full of butterflies when I gave my testimony about what happened to Andrew on the night of August 6th 1992. I stayed for five hours of the 10 hour hearing and then went back home to care for my son. My lawyer was there for the second half of the hearing on the following day.

    In the end, the government turned Andrew down for compensation. There would be no money to help us care for our son. The Special Master told us that if we had applied for compensation a year earlier, she would have found in our favor but because of the TABLE CHANGE there was nothing she could do but find in favor of the government.

    That angered me and still does anger me that this Table can be changed by the government after Congress put the Table in the law to help children like Andrew get compensation. That Table change sure wasn’t for the betterment of the families who go through horrific life changes due to vaccine injuries. The government forces us to give our children these vaccines and then when something goes wrong - too bad- you are on your own.

    The Special Master told us to appeal but where is the logic in doing that if the rules are still the same? We will take our chances with the vaccine manufacturer in court.

    Because if we don’t, what is going to happen to Andrew? The doctors told us Andrew could live to be 25 or even 40 years old. We want to care for him as long as we can. We don’t want him to be put in an institution where they won’t do for him like we can do for him. To care for him the right way, our home needs to be wheelchair accessible and we need a lift to get him into a van and we need to be able to afford to buy all the medications and supplies he needs after he turns 18 years old. We just want enough money to care for him the right way because no amount of money could ever really compensate Andrew or us for what the DPT shot took from him.

    Thank you again for listening to what happened to my son and our family. God bless you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Re: Vaccination lies

    Testimony Submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives

    Committee on Government Reform and Oversight

    Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources

    Chairman: Congressman John L. Mica

    Submitted by: Linda Mulhauser

    September 17, 1999

    Chairman Mica and Members of the Government Reform Committee:

    Thank you for your invitation to appear at today’s hearing to tell of our family’s experience with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Our son Stephen, now 17 years old, was seriously and permanently injured by a DPT vaccination at three and a half months of age.

    Born healthy and full term by natural childbirth, Stephen received the highest Apgar score ratings of 9 and 10. At seven weeks of age, Stephen received his first DPT vaccine. We were reassured by his pediatrician that the swelling at the injection site, among other changes we noted, was only a "mild" reaction and of no concern. Following the pediatrician’s advice that "the benefits outweighed the risks", Stephen was given and reacted severely to his second DPT shot with over nine hours of high pitched screaming and high fever.

    During the next couple of days, Stephen’s eyes began wandering independently of each other and then spasm. He could no longer roll over or reach out to play with his crib gym because his hands were fisted and held at his shoulders.

    Over our concerns, Stephen was then given his third dose of DPT vaccine in half doses at 5-1/2 and 6-1/2 months of age. His pediatrician said that he must have this vaccine in order to attend school.

    We later discovered during our compensation hearing, that from the day of the second shot in 1982, Stephen showed failure to thrive as his charted growth plummeted. Stephen’s brain had all but stopped growing during the time period he was receiving his DPT vaccines. He remains affected with fine motor and gross motor difficulties, posturing, language based learning disabilities, visual perception issues, behavioral problems, and profound bilateral hearing loss. He requires special schooling, assistance with simple daily living skills, constant adult supervision, and numerous therapies.

    Compensation Program Issues:

    Having your child injured by a vaccine that’s supposed to protect him is devastating. Our experience of going through the compensation system only added insult to that injury.

    After 5 years of preparation for a civil suit, through depositions, ready for trial -- our attorneys informed us that they’d become obligated to advise us to put a ‘stay’ on our case and apply for government compensation prior to a 1990 deadline date. It was supposed to be a simple and expedient process, taking about 18 months, with decisions to be made by special masters without a trial. We were advised that we could go back to the law suit if a desired outcome was not reached.

    Nine months later we had our hearing (in a NY federal court room), requiring preparation and giving of testimony, including cross examinations. Expert witnesses were called for both sides. Two months later, the special master determined that Stephen was in fact injured by the DPT vaccine, as described within the guidelines of the Vaccine Injury Table. Although we consider this first step of the process to have been timely and professionally managed, it seemed only to lack a jury to be a traditional court trial.

    The next step of the process was to determine an amount of money to be compensated. We already had a life care plan in place because we were ready to go to trial before entering the compensation program. Instead of working with us to determine Stephen’s appropriate life care needs, the Department of Justice’s attorney sought for years to trivialize the extent of Stephen’s vaccine injuries and to argue for irresponsibly insufficient funds to support a reasonable quality of life.

    After four years of such negotiations, we needed to request another hearing to come to settlement, requiring further testimony from ourselves and Stephen’s life care planner. It was determined on the spot by the chief special master that the life care plan the DOJ’s attorney and life care planner submitted was indeed unrealistic and ordered specific actions to be completed within two months. This hearing, in and of itself, was handled professionally. However, two months turned into four before an agreement was signed. Further delays ensued to correct a significant math error relative to the initial payment. The agreement was then filed at the end of a 90 day filing period.

    The stipulation then required that we become legal guardians of our own child, causing further delay before any checks would be issued by the annuity company.

    From the time we applied to the Vaccine Injury Compensation System to the time we were finally able to access the funds, six and a half years had gone by. Our savings disappeared as we paid for therapies not covered by our insurance, hearing aids and special schooling, among other extraordinary expenses. Under the guidelines of the program, families are not reimbursed for any past expenses.

    We were very fortunate in that the law firm who represented us continued to fight on Stephen’s behalf far beyond any financial gain. In fact, the single payment of $30,000.00 allocated for attorneys’ fees in pre-’88 cases only covered the expenses incurred in preparation of our two hearings. The law firm itself received nothing for its efforts of representing Stephen over a ten year period.

    Our attorney has described the hearing process as a "full out liability case." Once our case was won, he then had an item by item fight to obtain even the smallest of needs on Stephen’s life care plan. Concessions were made only on small items. Much time was spent by the DOJ attorney forcing the discussion of petty matters, such as whether Stephen would benefit from the use of a $10 special needs door knob (one was allowed throughout his lifetime), rather than getting down to serious matters dealing with the quality of Stephen’s future. Deadlines were often extended.

    In our view, the recommendations of the DOJ attorney and government life care planner assigned to our case were unrealistic and irresponsible... for example, to determine the value of residential care they specified a residential center only in its planning stages or a charitable group home with no day services and a wait list of over 1,500 persons. We were given a "take it or leave it" final offer which still did not adequately address Stephen’s needs. This prompted our request for the second hearing which took place ten months later.

    We entered into negotiations for Stephen’s life care with the belief that, unable to support himself, his needs would be met and his future would be sufficiently secure so that he could live as independent and normal a lifestyle as possible. We were mistaken. Our experience was a totally exhausting and extremely adversarial process of nickel & dime arguments. On the government’s behalf, every effort was made by the DOJ attorney to hold onto as much of the fund as possible. This included an attempt to establish a "reversionary trust", requiring any monies not spent during the course of each year to be returned to the government. Such practices place at risk the future care and security of every vaccine injured child.

    The DOJ attorney continued to act as if he was still fighting a case, attempting to minimize the award which he had previously fought to avoid. This conflict of interest deadlocked negotiations and added years to resolving our settlement. After a decision is given that a child should be compensated, DOJ attorneys should step aside and allow others, with input from life care planners and families, to determine the projected needs of the individual throughout the balance of their lifetime.

    As compensation is not retroactive to the date of the decision, each additional year of ‘bargaining’ is one less year to be compensated. This places further undue hardship on already emotionally and financially strained families. Our perception is that the program relies on this tactic to force families and their attorneys to accept less than adequate settlements which would provide optimal treatments for their vaccine injured child. Once a determination has been made that an adverse reaction was incurred, both sides should be working together in the best interest of the child.

    The all out effort, time, and expense required to successfully negotiate the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program prompted our major law firm to never accept another vaccine injury case.

    We are further concerned that life care plans used to determine settlement amounts are forwarded to annuity or trust companies, with the stipulation labels remaining. In our experience, copies of the life care plan have also been requested by courts and banks. A child’s needs will inevitably vary. Type or frequency of therapies can and do change. New treatments become available. Labels remaining on life care plans used to determine payment schedules, leave open a real risk that at any time someone might withhold funds if monies aren’t spent specifically as tagged. We are extremely uncomfortable that an individual as far removed as a bank clerk can potentially have a say over Stephen’s care because a treatment is not listed on his life care plan. Every family who has gone through this system faces the same threat to their child’s welfare. Might I suggest that such labels be removed in the future before sending out the plan, and that a letter be issued to clarify the ability of legal guardians to utilize funds in the most appropriate manner for the injured individual in their care.

    As parents, we did everything in our power to provide the love, nurturing, and care to ensure a bright future for our firstborn child...a life full of dreams and promise. Part of that care was to protect him from harm and life-threatening diseases. We believed we were protecting our son when we took him for his baby shots. Instead his life and ours have been changed forever.

    Each day is a challenge, and we try to meet that challenge to make things a little better. My hope is that, by our presence here, today’s challenge will make things better for the many families of vaccine injured children who are in, or who are attempting to enter into, the Vaccine Injury Compensation System, and for those who have been rejected by the system following changes to the Vaccine Injury Table.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share our experience and express my concerns.

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