Omnibus decisions in–acknowledging the test case families

12 Feb

The Omnibus decisions on MMR are in. Answer: no. Clearly no, they did not find that MMR with or without thimerosal cause autism. The court found that the cases were without merit.

This will obviously be a topic much discussed in the next few days. But, for right now, I’d like to acknowledge the bravery of the families who allowed their stories to be the “test cases” for the omnibus: the Cedillos, the Hazlehursts and the Snyders.

Yes, I agree with the decisions by the Court. Yes, I think the vaccine question has and will continue to sidetrack the greater autism community from more important efforts. But, the Court made a point in the decisions that the families stepped forward with good faith.

They put their lives in the public eye. They can appeal (and I expect it will happen). But they can’t do what the Krakow’s did, and what appears to be an option for the rest of the Omnibus families: change the story and resubmit to the court.

It was a good decision, and good for the autism community as a whole. For me, I’m taking at least a day to process before blogging the decision. In that time, I’d like to acknowledge that the Cedillos, the Hazlehursts and the Snyders put themselves on the line for what they believe in. They did it to try to help other families. I can disagree with them and still acknowledge the bravery of that action.

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2 Responses to “Omnibus decisions in–acknowledging the test case families”

  1. Another Voice February 12, 2009 at 17:59 #

    Sullivan – glad that you acknowledged these parents.

  2. Sam C February 13, 2009 at 14:40 #

    The judges too made clear their sympathy for the families and made a strong point of saying that they must decide the case on the legal and scientific evidence, not on sentiment. They were very humane in that regard.

    And, I don’t think anyone has said anything nasty about the families, who are honest and caring – if mistaken – in their beliefs.

    I don’t know whether there will be an appeal. Certainly there shouldn’t be – every single part of each anti-vaccine case fell apart. The claimants’ witnesses were poor; the judges are really critical of some of their very poor evidence.

    In at least two of the cases, there was clear evidence on video and in medical records of the child having developmental problems before the MMR vaccine, which on its own surely scuppers those cases. Even the most ardent anti-vaxer would not (I hope) claim that the MMR vaccine is so harmful that its effects occur even before the injection?!

    If these are the best test cases that the claimants’ panel could find, and if those are their best expert witnesses, their case is very, very fragile. They certainly need to prepare more competently.

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