Autism Omnibus: Special Masters Speak

4 Apr

A new document has been uploaded to the Autism Omnibus hearing section by the Special Masters. It regards the Poling case. I want to pick out a couple of sections (thanks to M and MS for this tip):

We do note, however, that under the statutory provision in question,information from a Vaccine-Act proceeding may be disclosed if the person who supplied such information provides “express written consent” for such disclosure. 42 U.S.C. 5 300aa-12(d)(4)(A). Thus, for example, in the six autism “test cases” discussed above, we are able to disclose the names of the cases in this pdate, because the families in question have provided such “express written consent.” Therefore, in the case that is the subject of the media reports, if the parties who supplied documents and information in the case provide their written consent, we may then be able to appropriately disclose documents in the case. Until such consent is provided, however, we cannot disclose any information. We reiterate that this court has issued no decision on the issue of vaccine causation of autism

And:

In recent weeks, there have been a number of reports in the media concerning a certain Vaccine Act case, currently pending before the court. Some of those reports have erroneously stated that the Office of the Special Masters has recently issued a “decision,” “opinion,” or “ruling” concerning the issue of whether a Vaccine Act claimant’s autism symptoms were caused by one or more vaccinations. The OSM has not issued any such decision, ruling or opinion. (All Vaccine Act decisions and opinions are posted on the Court’s web site at www.uscourts.gov/vaccine-opinions-decisions) Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 300aa=12(d)(4)(A), officials of this court are generally prohibited from revealing any information concerning vaccine Act case, until a written decision concerning the case has been issued. Accordingly we cannot provide any details concerning this matter at this time

10 Responses to “Autism Omnibus: Special Masters Speak”

  1. Tom April 4, 2008 at 18:08 #

    It’s time for David Kirby to issue a retraction and an apology.

  2. Regan April 4, 2008 at 21:03 #

    “We reiterate that this court has issued no decision on the issue of vaccine causation of autism”…”Some of those reports have erroneously stated that the Office of the Special Masters has recently issued a “decision,” “opinion,” or “ruling” concerning the issue of whether a Vaccine Act claimant’s autism symptoms were caused by one or more vaccinations. The OSM has not issued any such decision, ruling or opinion…”

    Thank you for highlighting that (thought it was worth repeating).
    Unfortunately, I am not sure that those who have already opened Pandora’s Box are going to pay much attention to such fine and relevant distinctions. If I were wagering person I would bet that issuance of such a statement will be interpreted with negative intent, if not simply ignored. Much of the conversation on this case seems to be framed in suggestion, supposition and extrapolation rather than a rational examination and reporting of the factual information. (If corrections, apologies and retractions are forthcoming on some of the reporting, I stand corrected.)

    However, I appreciate seeing the facts first hand. Thank you for the post Kev.

  3. Ms. Clark April 4, 2008 at 21:04 #

    I think it’s time to clarify whether or not David Kirby has been hired to be the antivax/mercury-phobics PR man. I think it’s possible that someone like Cliff Shoemaker or a consortium of lawyers is paying him to act in the capacity that he has worked for years, as a PR man.

    Kirby was Elizabeth Taylor’s PR man when she was working for some AIDS nonprofit organization. He had his own PR firm for years, I think this was simultaneous with him writing for magazines and newspapers.

    He is a journalist. But is he also a paid PR man, paid to spin the vaccine stories for his clients? What would it take to get to the bottom of this? Maybe some tangentially related court case could be used. Maybe someone could subpoena some lawyers’ bank records to see if they are paying David Kirby to write? Maybe some antivaccine/mercury-phobic organizations can get their bank records subpoenaed likewise? In light of what has happened to Kathleen after all?

  4. Ms. Share April 4, 2008 at 21:24 #

    What Ms Clark said.

  5. lacshmiybarra April 4, 2008 at 22:22 #

    I believe the court is trying to tell the public that “the court” did not make ANY decision with respect to vaccines and autism in the girls case. It did not have to make a decision. That is because there was no hearing on the matter. The Department of Justice (DOJ), on behalf of Health and Human Services, made the decision to concede the case based on their own medical teams review of the child’s medical records. Accordingly, since causation was conceded, the court did nothing with respect to a decision other than to proceed with a damages order.
    The court is trying to clarify some inaccurate claims that imply a bad decision (or any decision at all) was made by them. They likely did not even have the medical records at the point of concession.

    Instead, one has to look at medical experts from HHS as they are the physician team whom decided not to have a hearing on the issue and concede causation. I suspect this notice was given in response to a recent op ed piece by a physician who attempted with complete inaccuracy to explain what happened legally in the case. This physician incorrectly criticized the court and so called, “medical expert testimony” (which did not exist) for making the wrong decision. This physician would have had to criticize instead, the goverment’s physicians. So much for physicians trying to discuss legal issues!

    With respect to release of information, it is my understanding that it is the government whom is not allowing the information to be made public, not the family and that the court can do nothing about it until one side or the other concedes or the court intervenes after argument on both sides? Any thoughts on this assessment?

    Oh well, what a can of worms

  6. Kev April 4, 2008 at 22:53 #

    _”I believe the court is trying to tell the public that “the court” did not make ANY decision with respect to vaccines and autism in the girls case”_

    Whereas I believe what they wrote.

    _”Any thoughts on this assessment?”_

    Yes, it is incorrect.

  7. lacshmiybarra April 5, 2008 at 00:30 #

    Kev,

    Please explain how it is incorrect? Do you knowledge of this case?

  8. lacshmiybarra April 5, 2008 at 00:30 #

    Kev,

    Please explain how it is incorrect?

  9. Kev April 5, 2008 at 19:17 #

    Hi,

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude, or just cut and run. I got busier than I expected round here yesterday.

    Basically, the answers you want have ben the subjects of posts over the last month or so. If you click the ‘archives’ link and read the entries touching on Hannah Poling you’ll see what I (and others) think.

    In order to keep things as organised as possible, I’d rather that you raised any issues you have with the points made in those comment threads – otherwise we end up rehashing the same thing over again here.

  10. Joseph April 5, 2008 at 20:03 #

    The special masters will almost certainly rule in favor of Hannah. (I’m not sure if it’s OK to make statements like that about a pending decision, but it seems obvious).

    It also seems obvious that based on Hannah’s case alone they can’t issue a decision on whether vaccines cause autism. If they do, it needs to be worded clearly so it’s not taken to mean what some people want it to mean, i.e. that there exists something called “the autism epidemic” that is caused by vaccines.

    It is entirely possible that a new “table injury” comes out of all this that includes mitochondrial dysfunction, a high fever after vaccination, onset that is fairly immediate after the fever, and specific autistic features (probably not simply “autism”). This, of course, won’t be applicable to the vast majority of claimants in the Omnibus.

    I’m engaging in speculation, of course.

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