Crazy legal verdict on vaccine damage
This is just doctors feeling sorry for a disabled kid and coming to a crazy conclusion in order to help him. Where to start?
* His condition is NOT of the kind usually blamed on the vaccine
* The vaccine has repeatedly been found to be safe in large trials of it
* His problems developed 10 days after the vaccination, whereas vaccine side-effects are usually manifest within 24 hours
Logical conclusion: His problems were not even coincident with the vaccination, let alone being caused by it
A mother whose son suffered severe brain damage after he was given the controversial MMR vaccine as a baby has been awarded 90,000 compensation. The judgment is the first of its kind to be revealed since concerns were raised about the safety of the triple jab.
Robert Fletcher, 18, is unable to talk, stand unaided or feed himself.
He endures frequent epileptic fits and requires round-the-clock care from his parents Jackie and John, though he is not autistic. He suffered the devastating effects after being given the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine when he was 13 months old.
The Department of Health had always denied that the jab was the cause of Roberts disability.
But now, in a judgment which will give hope to hundreds of other parents whose children have been severely affected by routine vaccinations, a medical assessment panel consisting of two doctors and a barrister has concluded that MMR was to blame.
Roberts mother Jackie said the money would help with his care, though she described the amount as derisory.
Her first application for compensation under the Governments Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme was rejected in 1997 on the grounds that it was impossible to prove beyond reasonable doubt what had caused Roberts illness.
But Mrs Fletcher appealed and in a ruling delivered last week, a new panel of experts came to a different conclusion.
In a six-page judgment, they said: Robert was a more or less fit boy who, within the period usually considered relevant to immunisation, developed a severe convulsion... and he then went on to be epileptic and severely retarded.
The seizure occurred ten days after the vaccination. In our view, this cannot be put down to coincidence. 'It is this temporal association that provides the link. It is this that has shown on the balance of probabilities that the vaccination triggered the epilepsy. 'On this basis, we find that Robert is severely disabled as a result of vaccination and this is why we allowed the appeal.
The ruling will reignite the debate over the safety of common childhood vaccines, although it makes clear that Roberts case does not involve autism.
There is one other reported case of a family being given compensation as a result of an MMR jab.
But Mrs Fletcher said she believed the compensation award to Robert was the first to a surviving MMR-damaged person since controversy erupted in 1998 when the now discredited Dr Andrew Wakefield raised concerns about a possible link between the combined MMR injection and autism. He has since been struck off the medical register....
The controversy over a suggested link between MMR and autism erupted in 1998 when Dr Wakefield published a paper in The Lancet medical journal.
His work has since been discredited and earlier this year Dr Wakefield, who has moved to America, was struck off the medical register after the General Medical Council ruled that he had acted against the interests of patients and failed in his duties as a responsible consultant.
Robert Fletcher does not suffer from autism. But Mrs Fletcher, from Warrington, Cheshire, said the ruling would give hope to hundreds of other parents fighting to prove that their childrens disabilities were caused by the MMR injection....
The first doctor who assessed Robert under the compensation scheme in 1996 concluded that he had suffered a simple febrile convulsion with no long-lasting consequences. Although he agreed that Robert had a degree of disability, he refused to accept that the MMR vaccine was to blame.
At this months appeal, evidence was given by a leading expert on vaccine-damaged children, paediatric neurologist Dr Marcel Kinsbourne. He explained the biological changes which had occurred in Roberts brain following the vaccination.
The one-day hearing was chaired by a barrister sitting with two doctors, Professor Sundara Lingam, a former consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, and Dr Adrian Allaway.
In a dissenting judgment, Professor Lingam said he believed Robert was genetically predisposed to epilepsy and that the vaccination triggered it rather than caused it. 'Robert would have developed epilepsy in any event, even if he had not had the vaccination.
But Professor Lingam was overruled by his two colleagues. In their final judgment, they accepted that MMR had caused Roberts illness but added: We would stress that this decision is fact-specific and it should not be seen as a precedent for any other case. 'In particular, it has no relevance to the issue... as to whether there is a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, a London GP whose own son is autistic, said: It is a very important principle that parents should be compensated in cases of this kind. 'But although a causal link has been established in law in this instance, exhaustive scientific research has failed to establish any link between MMR and brain damage. 'This case should not make parents feel any different about the safety of the vaccine.
The Department of Health said: This decision reflects the opinion of a tribunal on the specific facts of the case and they were clear that it should not be seen as a precedent for any other case. 'The safety of MMR has been endorsed through numerous studies in many countries.
Food fanaticism hits charity fundraising in South Australia
There's no proof that there is anything wrong with any of the stuff banned and if people want it, they will get it elsewhere anyway
THEY'VE been a staple of hospital waiting rooms and reception desks for decades, but charity fundraiser chocolates, mints and lollies [candies] will be banned from all SA Health buildings under a crackdown on "unhealthy" food.
Butter, pies, pasties, sausages, bacon, soft drinks and even cordial are among more than 20 food items on a "red" list which will also be banned at department events, meetings and functions under the new state food policy which becomes mandatory on October 1.
Workers will even have to seek permission from department executives if they want to serve alcohol such as sparkling wine and fried food such as spring rolls at their staff Christmas party.
Already boxes of charity chocolates and Lion Mints have been removed from counters at the Royal Adelaide and Women's and Children's Hospitals.
However, while the sale of confectionery to raise money for good causes will be banned, chocolates and lollies will still be able to be sold at hospital and office cafeterias and in vending machines, as long as they make up only 20 per cent of the food on display.
SA Health's 30,000 staff were sent an email about the policy last week by chief executive Dr Tony Sherbon, who wrote: "Healthy eating is important for healthy lifestyle, which is why SA Health is making healthy food and drink choices easier in the workplace through the Healthy Food and Drink Choices for Staff and Visitors in SA Health Facilities policy."
The email stated "RED (unhealthy) category food or drinks should not be provided" at functions, meetings, events or even in "social club fridges".
The new policy also bans staff and charities from holding fundraiser sausage sizzles or lamington drives at SA Health sites, instead recommending staff seek sponsorship for "climbing stairs", playing hacky sack or having their head shaved.
Nurses, doctors, unions and charities have lined up to oppose the policy, describing the bans as "heavy-handed" and a "ridiculous" waste of money.
Service organisation Lions Club, which has raised funds through the sale of its trademark mints for more than 30 years, said the banning of its fundraiser boxes "was of course disappointing". National executive officer Rob Oerlemans said the organisation was looking into the impact the ban would have on fundraising at its national board meeting in Sydney today.
"We will just have to abide by these regulations, but the money we raise from these sales fund things like research into child cancer, spinal injury and diabetes prevention," Mr Oerlemans said.
Elaine Farmer, general manager of Surf Life Saving South Australia, which relies on funds raised through annual chocolate drives, was also disappointed by the ban. "It's getting tougher and tougher out there to raise money and every door that is closed on us just makes it worse," she said. "We have quite a few clubs that have chocolate runs for five to six weeks every year, which raises thousands of dollars, and it's very disappointing to now be banned from public hospitals and health departments."
Australian Medical Association state president Dr Andrew Lavender labelled the banning of foods "patronising and ridiculous". "There is no such thing as bad foods, it's all about how you use them, and this arbitrary banning is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut," Dr Lavender said. "This policy is a waste of resources. It's a nanny state approach and it would be much better putting that time and money into education programs."
Australian Nursing Federation state secretary Elizabeth Dabars also described the policy as heavy handed. "It is getting to the point people are not sure if they can bring a chocolate cake to work to celebrate someone's birthday," she said. "It seems extraordinary that people will have this type of control placed on them in the workplace.