Cedillos, Hazlehursts, Snyders

12 Feb

Three brave families who were placed in harms way not by an MMR injection but by a string of bad doctors, worse autism/antivax organisations and really terrible witnesses. A combination of these three factors placed these three families – they who stood for the utterly discredited idea that MMR/thiomersal or MMR alone cause autism – into harm the likes of which said doctors and founders of autism/antivax orgs will never have to face. I recall hearing that the Cedillo’s had taken out a second mortgage on their home to enable them to attend the legal proceedings.

I wonder if the leading autism/antivax groups will have enough about them to pony up to support the Cedillo’s for the rest of their lives? They should, they hung them out like a banner to wave.

This is from the Washington Post:

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 pinpoints the Geier’s, Krigsman and Wakefield by name in his verdict.

And here’s Special Master Vowell from the Snyder test case:

“After careful consideration of all of the evidence, it was abundantly clear that petitioners’ theories of causation were
speculative and unpersuasive.”


To conclude that Colten’s condition was the result of his MMR vaccine, an objective observer would have to emulate Lewis Carroll’s White Queen and be able to believe six impossible (or, at least, highly improbable) things before breakfast.

And here is Special Master Campbell-Smith from the Hazlehurt test case:

Because the linchpin of petitioners’ theory, the finding of persistent measles virus in the biopsied tissue taken from the gastrointestinal lining of autistic children, is glaringly unreliable, the basis for Dr. Corbier’s opinion that the MMR vaccine was causally related to Yates’ autism and his gastrointestinal symptoms is critically flawed and scientifically untenable. Petitioners have failed to prove that their theory of vaccine-related causation is biologically plausible as required by the first prong of Althen. Nor have petitioners demonstrated that the unsupported links of their proposed causal chain cohere to establish a logical sequence of cause and effect as required by the second prong of Althen. Having failed to satisfy their evidentiary burden, petitioners cannot prevail on their vaccine claim.

I should be happy that science has prevailed and I am to a certain degree. The fact that the Vaccine Injury Court demands a very, very low standard of proof should indicate clearly and concisely just how good the rubbish submitted as science was for these kids cases.

I can’t be happy and I can’t take any pleasure in the fact that these kids and their families have been coldly, cynically used by those who demand against all reason that vaccines cause autism. How could any right thinking person? These parents are penniless and will no doubt be coerced into taking part in a shame of an appeal, then civil cases. Civil cases where the standard of science is very much higher. I hope they step back and consider carefully the verdicts of the Special Masters, the horrendous quality of their so-called ‘expert’ witnesses and the utter lack of any science to support them.

14 Responses to “Cedillos, Hazlehursts, Snyders”

  1. Sullivan February 12, 2009 at 22:14 #

    I recall hearing that the Cedillo’s had taken out a second mortgage on their home to enable them to attend the legal proceedings.

    It is worth noting that the court has paid their expenses.

  2. Kev February 12, 2009 at 22:26 #

    Thank God for that. At least one set of people have a conscience.

  3. Timelord February 12, 2009 at 22:28 #

    The Vaccine Court website hasn’t published the full decision yet (as I type this) but when it does I hope in the case of the Cedillos that the part about Michelle having a 105 temperature and being told not to take her to hospital is also mentioned. That – in my book – was the clincher.

  4. _Arthur February 12, 2009 at 22:32 #

    Krigsman treated the Cedillo kid for years for “autistic enterocolitis”, which, according to him, has the same symptoms than Crohns’ disease … and the same treatment !

  5. Leila February 12, 2009 at 23:09 #

    The parents are still being misled, and defeat on this court won’t be enough to open their eyes. Just go over to Age of Autism to see how all the organizations, from Safe Minds to Autism Speaks, are questioning the court’s verdict.

  6. Sullivan February 12, 2009 at 23:46 #


    Look here for the decisions


  7. _Arthur February 13, 2009 at 00:16 #

    Timelord, the Cedillos were doubly misled by their lawyers.
    As I understand how the VICP works, if your kid shows a high fever shortly after a vaccine, and has subsequent injury, it is straightforward to obtain compensation. This being a known “Table” possible (rare) side-effect. You don’t have to establish positive causality.

    Instead, the lawyers decided to swing for the moon, and to claim that the vaccine(s) caused both her autism and her Cronhs disease. They had very poor, unreliable, scientific evidence.

  8. alyric February 13, 2009 at 00:31 #

    I think this is the saddest day. Those poor parents so horribly misled and then it all comes out. Their experts were so pitiful they never had a chance. There should be no celebrating this just but painful decision. What choice did the special masters have ?

  9. Samantha February 13, 2009 at 00:49 #

    Alyric, thanks for sharing your compassion. It’s a good reminder for me of how to respond.

  10. _Arthur February 13, 2009 at 01:39 #

    The parents were misled both medically and legally.

  11. daedalus2u February 13, 2009 at 03:25 #

    If the masters think that the plaintifs have “been misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment.” What does that say about the legal representation the plaintifs have gotten? To choose experts “guilty” of “gross medical misjudgment”, is to have chosen unwisely. Does that rise to the level of legal malpractice? I hope the plaintifs are given the oportunity to find out.

  12. _Arthur February 13, 2009 at 04:20 #

    Deadalus, in this case, the very practitioners that “treated” their kids (often with experimental treatments or for heretofore-unknown illnesses) were also the expert witnesses for the Petitioners.

  13. David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction) February 13, 2009 at 12:03 #

    hiya alyric…

    “I think this is the saddest day. Those poor parents so horribly misled and then it all comes out.”

    I agree entirely. This was not what they hoped for and this was not what their ‘experts’ essentially said they’d get for them. Whilst I welcome the verdict on causation, I don’t relish the disappointment and disillusionment that the three families are likely feeling just now; and I cannot see how ‘experts’ could ethically take them through this route to what they have now for their troubles: nothing.

    “Their experts were so pitiful they never had a chance.”

    Exactly. This is why the science actually is important: that’s how we find relatively incontrovertible evidence of things like causation and efficacy, and mechanisms by which these things work.

    “There should be no celebrating this just but painful decision. What choice did the special masters have?”

    I’m glad that one pain in the arse is going to be pissed off: he’s going to give some seriously good schadenfreude in the next few weeks because he’s too stupid to ralise that it’s over! But, for the families in the Omnibus proceedings, I am incredibly sad that their teams let them down by pushing them this far. The SMs had to weigh up the evidence and – indeed – what choice did they have but to find that vaccines did not cause autism.

    As for the court paying the families’ expenses, I have no issue with the expense being paid; I just think that the responsibility rests with the legal and medical professionals who misled the families. Without that misleading advice, I don’t think that the families would have gone this far on such flimsy evidence as the legal teams and medical ‘experts’ were going to provide.


  1. Dr. Jay Gordon: Will you please stop claiming you’re not an antivaccinationist? « Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day - February 20, 2009

    […] reaction to the recent decision in the Autism Omnibus, in which the special masters roundly and utterly rejected the arguments of the plaintiffs in the first three test cases (more about that on Monday, unless something more current demands my attention by then). I’m […]

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