But very few parents with injured children win compensation. First of all, the government is judge, jury and executioner. In 1995, when the case load became excessive, they changed the rules for what constituted an injury. For example, prior to 1995, 25% of the files claimed against DTP shots causing injury were paid. After 1995, only 5.4% were paid. Second, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) used to track injuries only captures 1% of all cases. Most doctors and parents have no knowledge that the system exists. In addition, the statute of limitations is only 3 years for the court. An autism diagnosis may take until a child is 4 years old and then it is too late to file. The parents bear the entire burden of proving injury and the process can take many years from filing to award (51% of cases take longer than 5 years!). Can you imagine the financial and emotional burden on a family suddenly dealing with a severely disabled child who requires 24/7 care not covered by insurance?
J.B. Handley in his book, How to End the Autism Epidemic, stated, "The year the vaccine court began operating--1989--is important to the story, because that's also the birth year many point to as the beginning of a meteoric rise in the number of children with autism. Three other potentially monumental things happened in 1989: the hepatitis B vaccine was licensed, the Hib vaccine was licensed, and, for the first time, a second dose of the MMR vaccine was recommended for all American children.
For many years, the expert witness on the government's side in vaccine court was Dr. Andrew Zimmerman. He was the doctor called in to dispute parental claims that vaccines caused their child's autism. His written testimony helped deny the claims of families of more than 5,000 children with autism during an Omnibus Autism Proceeding in 2009 in vaccine court.
In the 1990s a young doctor (Jon Poling) joined Dr. Zimmerman and Dr. Kelley at the prestigious Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. The institute is a renowned research facility for autism. In 2000, Dr. Poling's 19-month old daughter, Hannah, experienced a massive regression into autism following her vaccination. Dr. Zimmerman, Dr. Kelley and his colleagues tried to figure out what happened. Dr. Poling stated that if he hadn't seen it himself, he would never have believed it.
In time, Dr. Zimmerman and Dr. Kelley became convinced that vaccines were indeed capable of causing autism under certain circumstances. When Dr. Zimmerman's expert opinion began to change, the CDC and Department of Justice panicked. The government offered a quick $20 million settlement with the Polings in 2010. The Polings disappeared off the radar shortly after that--they were under a gag order as part of the deal to keep the money flowing. In fact, we would know nothing about this story if it weren't for one of the Polings' lawyers leaking it later. Stay tuned to hear more details about Hannah Poling, other children's similar cases, and the testimony of Dr. Zimmerman and Dr. Kelley. There is no question legally, that the government has acknowledged that vaccines can cause autism. The FDA and CDC just won't admit it publicly.
For more information, see my book, There's An Elephant in the Room-Exposing Hidden Truths in the Science of Health.