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Court ruling on (lack of) autism-vaccine link

Posted in Legal issues, Off topic, Scientific research by Matt at WelcometoIllinois on February 12, 2009

Following up on my earlier post.

The Washington Post reports:

Thousands of parents who claimed that childhood vaccines had caused their children to develop autism are wrong and not entitled to federal compensation, a special court ruled today in three decisions with far-reaching implications for a bitterly fought medical controversy.

The New York Times adds:

These three decisions, each looking into a different theory as to how vaccines might have injured the children, are expected to guide the outcomes of all [5,000 similar] claims.

The judges ruled that the families seeking compensation had not shown that their children’s autism was brought on by the presence of thimerosal, a mercury vaccine preservative, by the weakened measles virus used in the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine, or by a combination of the two.

The Washington Post continues:

The decision by three independent special masters is especially telling because the special court’s rules did not require plaintiffs to prove their cases with scientific certainty — all the parents needed to show was that a preponderance of the evidence, or “50 percent and a hair,” supported their claims. The vaccine court effectively said today that the thousands of pending claims represented by the three test cases are on extremely shaky ground.

In his ruling on one case, special master George Hastings said the parents of Michelle Cedillo — who had charged that a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine caused their child to develop autism — had “been misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment.”

Hastings said that he was deeply moved by the suffering autism imposed on families such as the Cedillos, but that “the evidence advanced by the petitioners has fallen far short of demonstrating . . . a link.”

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One Response

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  1. rickismom said, on February 13, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Many times people write about the risks of vacines.
    I always tell concerned parents who read this: come talk to me after you have read about the risk of the disease!


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