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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Did The SCOTUS Get This One Right?

Click here for story: Supreme Court rejects vaccine lawsuit

Read the above article, then form your opinion. Who was right in this case? I am torn. On one hand I am not a fan of frivolous lawsuits. On the other hand I am wary of childhood vaccinations. Let's review the facts in this case:

  • 6 month-old suffers debilitating seizures that cause severe brain damage after routine vaccination
  • 65 other children were also harmed by the same vaccination
  • The vaccination that caused this (and no one disputes that it caused the problem) was removed from the market in 1998

Now remembering I am against frivolous lawsuits, but reviewing the above facts, I would say these parents have a case. Their daughter is now 19 but has the brain of a toddler. They are facing 24 hour care for this young lady for the rest of her life. It seems the vaccine maker could have be held complicit since the vaccine was pulled from the market in the years since this child's unfortunate reaction.

After some quick research I learned that the DPT vaccination is for the prevention of three diseases: diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus.

Diphtheria has already been pretty much eradicated. There have been 55 reported cases since 1980.

Pertussis, or whooping cough, while seeing a resurgence in recent years, doctors now have effective treatments that have rendered whooping cough to the status of treatable disease.

Tetanus if also extremely treatable. Once a potential tetanus-causing wound occurs a patient can be given the tetanus shot to prevent the disease.

So the question is this: was the DPT vaccination as necessary as preached? And the fact that it was known to cause seizures and brain damage in a relatively low number of cases, was that risk worth the reward?

I would argue no. Vaccinations are extremely controversial today. But the risks to the types of reactions that cause debilitating conditions seem to outweigh the rewards of preventing the diseases that they prevent. I would even argue that parents should also weigh the fact that since the vast majority of other kids receive the vaccinations, your child is very unlikely to ever come in contact with said diseases.

I know it sounds callous to take the position of "let other parents risk their kids well-being so that my kid can be safe", but put yourself in the shoes of the Bruesewitzs. You take a healthy, active, happy 6 month-old in for a routine check-up, and come out with a child that is brain damaged to the point of needing full-time care. For the rest of the child's life. Very scary and sad.

I never thought I'd agree with this woman, but on this point I do:
But other justices, such as Justice Sonia Sotomayor, expressed concerns that the immunity vaccine manufacturers have provides no motivation for them to improve vaccines and make them safer. She also didn’t seem to buy the arguments that allowing certain cases to go to court would cripple the vaccine-manufacturing industry.
My heart and prayers go out to the Bruesewitzs. If anyone knows of a website that we can donate to this family to help them with their daughter's care I would appreciate if you'd post it in the comments. I am extremely saddened for this family, and all families that have been harmed by vaccinations and immunizations, because they have no recourse thanks to laws like this one that has been upheld that prevent vaccination manufactureres from lawsuits.

And shame on the SCOTUS for getting this one wrong.

If you disagree with this post, do so respectfully or your comment will never see the light of day.

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