A family is set to get more that $1.5 million in the first-ever court award linking autism to vaccines, CBS News reports.
Whether vaccines have a role in causing or triggering autism has been a matter of debate and controversy for a number of years.
According to the CBS News story, "In 2002, [the parents of Hannah Poling] filed an autism claim in federal vaccine court. Five years later, the government settled the case before trial and had it sealed. It’s taken more than two years for both sides to agree on how much Hannah will be compensated for her injuries."
The article says that the family "will receive more than $1.5 million dollars 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."
Hannah is now 9-years-old, the article says. She appeared to be developing normally up until she was 18 months old, when she received a number of vaccinations, the story says. It was after that that Hannah developed autism.
The article adds, "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 disorder. All other autism ‘test cases’ have been defeated at trial. Approximately 4,800 are awaiting disposition in federal vaccine court."
NOTE: As many readers will recall, Bob Wright, who ran NBC for General Electric for years, and his wife Suzanne now head up Autism Speaks. According to the organization’s web site, "We are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. We are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals."
The Wright’s grandson is autistic.
According to the Autism Speaks website, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, "states that 1% or 1 in every 110 children has been diagnosed with autism, including 1 in 70 boys. This represents a staggering 57 percent increase from 2002 to 2006, and a 600 percent increase in just the past 20 years."
As for the vaccine-autism controversy, the organization has another page on its website entitled "An Interview with Dr. Geri Dawson, Chief Science Officer, Autism Speaks, about the Organization’s Research Funding and Position on Vaccines and Autism.
In the interview Dawson says, in part, "Could vaccines be one of the environmental triggers? Autism Speaks fundamentally is an evidence-based organization; so, let’s look at the evidence. The studies that have been conducted thus far – and there have been many – have specifically examined whether thimerosal, a preservative containing mercury previously used in many vaccines, or the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine cause autism. Overwhelmingly, these studies have not found evidence for a causal relationship between either thimerosal or the MMR vaccine and autism. At the same time, some parents have reported that the appearance of autism symptoms coincided with vaccination, and thus have advocated for more research on the potential role of vaccines in autism. As an organization that is committed to understanding all the potential causes of autism, we cannot dismiss the concerns of parents, especially since autism may be caused by distinct combinations of genetic and environmental factors that may each account for only a small percent of overall cases. Although coincidence cannot be mistaken for causality, Autism Speaks believes that parental concerns merit thorough investigation."