MMR vaccine damaged man

30 Aug

Jackie Fletcher is well known to many – she routinely insists the MMR jab is dangerous despite reams of evidence to the contrary. However, a panel in the UK has found that her son, Robert, was damaged by the MMR vaccine he was administered.

I nearly didn’t blog about this. Why? Well, this blogs predominant focus is autism and Robert did not and does not have autism. The panel in this case found that the MMR caused seizures and mental retardation. Its difficult therefore to get a ‘hook’ into this story. As Mike Fitzpatrick is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail:

It is a very important principle that parents should be compensated in cases of this kind…

and he’s absolutely right. Thats why the Vaccine Damage Payment Unit exists in the UK.

Like any other form of medical procedure, vaccines are not 100% safe. I can’t recall anyone anywhere ever making that claim. What they _are_ however, is very safe indeed. Robert Fletcher was injured and has been compensated. I might even agree with his mum that the amount is ‘derisory’. Robert will need full time care all of his life and £90,000 ($140,000) is nowhere near enough. However, campaigners uninterested in Robert’s day to day needs say that:

Campaigner Polly Tommey, who edits the magazine The Autism File and believes her son Billy is autistic because of MMR, says: ‘This is fantastic news. Now doctors can’t tell me that the MMR is safe.

‘This payout is evidence that it is not safe. It’s interesting that they will look at epilepsy and not autism, and you have to ask why.

‘Is it because the compensation would be billions?’

I very much doubt that any doctor, anywhere has ever told any recipient anywhere that any vaccine is 100% safe. If they did, they were liars.

However, this payment, far from being ‘evidence that it is not safe’ (a bizarre claim) is more like a recognition that the Vaccine Damage Payment system is working as it should. A man was vaccine damaged and was compensated as a result.

As for the claim that ‘they’ will not look at autism, this is simply incorrect. Robert, does not have autism and therefore it would be impossible in this case to look at autism. I would imagine if someone with autism was adjudged to be damaged by their MMR vaccine, Ms Tommey might have a point. As that has not happened, she does not. This kind of fear-mongering by the likes of Tommey is no doubt why the panel made the clear point:

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.

And Fletcher goes on to claim:

Claims for autism are not considered. There are 120 MMR cases waiting to be heard, but none is for autism…

So why should that be? Why is autism apparently ‘excluded’?

Its because the science – both epidemiological and clinical clearly shows that MMR does not cause autism. And that is not the odd paper here and there. We are talking about overwhelming science that shows that the whole autism/MMR connection is simply false and was built up by one man too stupid to admit his clear errors and a mass media keen to build sensation out of this same man’s ego.

Tommey, Fletcher and all others who believe that there’s some kind of conspiracy afoot to block autism from MMR causation cases need to understand the science involved and that unless some new science is forthcoming that establishes MMR as a causative agent in regards to autism then the simple fact of applying for compensation listing the MMR as a cause of their child’s autism is _always_ going to be an immediate strikeout.

Campaigners need to start seeing this event for what it _really_ is – compensation for a vaccine damaged man – and not as what it isn’t – evidence that MMR is inherently unsafe or that theres some mysterious conspiracy to prevent autism from being linked to MMR.

14 Responses to “MMR vaccine damaged man”

  1. brian August 30, 2010 at 22:51 #

    Hi, Kev—

    I know nothing of Robert Fletcher’s case beyond the information contained in the recent news accounts, so perhaps you can fill me in on one important point: Why were the Fletcher’s compensated for what may well be a de novo mutation in a gene associated with neuronal voltage-gated sodium transport? What did I miss?

    Other families have apparently been compensated in similar cases involving pertussis vaccine rather than MMR, but that was before it became clear that febrile convulsions and the development of some forms of epilepsy in childhood were both related to mutations in genes including SCN1A. Supposed injuries associated with vaccination against pertussis frequently involved the onset of seizures during the fever spike that occurs a day or two following vaccination, but retrospective studies showed that the problems actually resulted from mutation rather than from vaccination, and that the clinical course is unchanged whether or not seizure onset happened to be temporally associated with vaccination. Febrile seizures following the receipt of MMR typically occur about ten days following vaccination—just as in Robert’s case. Childhood epilepsies caused by SCN1A mutations frequently produce mental retardation and motor problems, just as in Robert’s case.

    I agree that the it is important that the vaccine compensation system must compensate families when it seems more likely than not that there was a vaccine injury. I don’t understand how that could be true in Robert’s case unless the likely explanation was ruled out by genetic tests, and if such tests ruled out this likely cause, then I don’t understand how Professor Lingam, one of the three-member panel that heard the case, could have said that 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.”

    So, was evidence presented that demonstrated that Robert’s case was unlike those cases of alleged vaccine injury that were in fact developmental problems caused by mutations? The alternative explanation, as suggested in some news articles, was that the panel disregarded the critical scientific evidence and concluded: “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.” But that wouldn’t make sense.

  2. Visitor August 30, 2010 at 23:15 #

    This headline should be in quotes. That Robert Fletcher was injured by MMR is only the opinion of one of two doctors. This does not establish the fact.

  3. Neuroskeptic August 31, 2010 at 12:06 #

    Brian: You’d have to look at the standards of evidence that the panel were using. “on the balance of probabilities that the vaccination triggered the epilepsy.” is not the same as ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ for example.

    It’s also possible that they were operating on the rule that even if the vaccine merely triggered epilepsy which would probably have happened anyway, they should compensate, because otherwise she won’t get any compensation, and she needs the money (they’re human too).

  4. Astrid August 31, 2010 at 13:59 #

    I agree with Neuroskeptic. Courts work with probabilities of 51 to 49%. It is more likely than not that Mr. Fletscher was damaged by the vaccine.

  5. brian August 31, 2010 at 15:34 #

    I think “trigger” may be the wrong word: the underlying condition seems to be revealed by the first fever that occurs at the critical developmental stage, such that there is no difference in clinical outcome whether the first febrile episode is a response to vaccination or to natural infection.

    While the onset of my nephew’s epilepsy closely followed his graduation from middle school, that coincidence does not indicate causation: his juvenile myoclonic epilepsy is almost certainly due to a mutation that caused a dramatic effect after a period of apparently normal development. I think in his case, as in Mr. Fletcher’s, it is not in fact “more likely than not” that his medical problem was caused by something that happened shortly before an underlying condition was revealed.

  6. century August 31, 2010 at 16:02 #

    You should change the title to “MMR vaccine damaged 13 month old”

  7. Kev August 31, 2010 at 18:14 #

    Long time no see Century…does it matter?

  8. century August 31, 2010 at 19:32 #

    Because the vaccine damaged a toddler – not a man, albeit that he is now 18.

    (And yep, long time no see. Times change and things move on. Mine is now 14 and doing better than ever envisaged – and yes I still think that MMR caused his problems, but hey, there are other things to worry about.
    Take care and cheers.)

  9. Liz Ditz August 31, 2010 at 20:36 #

    I thought Martin Robbins’s post was apropos

    Which is mostly on the media reaction to the decision in the UK.

    “In short then, this is a one-off legal decision, and yet the Mail on Sunday’s headline tries to conflate this with the wider, long-since discredited concerns about MMR and autism. While the Mail accepts that the link between MMR and autism has been discredited, it seems to do so grudgingly, and the article is a great example of “false balance”, with sensible contributions placed against the likes of MP Nadine Dorries and Dr Marcel Kinsbourne.”

  10. stanley seigler September 1, 2010 at 15:09 #

    I [Liz Ditz] thought Martin Robbins’s post was apropos…..l-research


    one might consider/ponder a comment from above link:

    “Here we go again – likely childless men trying to educate mothers on childcare…Studies carried out by childless men sifting through paperwork do not equate to the clinical observations of a mother”

    stanley seigler

  11. catherine September 6, 2010 at 16:39 #

    ummm…..not alot to say except that Polly Tommey is right to say they wont look at autism. They wont. And she didnt mean this case, she meant every other case that parents and PROFESSIONALS have taken their vaccine damaged AUTISTIC children tp and claimed it was the MMR or other vaccines. It doesnt take Einstein to work out that injecting numerous ingredients into children isnt the best thing.

    People who critisise need to look at what is in the vaccinations and ask themselves are they necessary.

    Im not against vaccination, but not all at once, before the child’s immune system is developed substantially.

    Wakefield has it right, lets just get the rest of the over paid idiots to listen.

  12. Chris September 6, 2010 at 20:14 #


    It doesnt take Einstein to work out that injecting numerous ingredients into children isnt the best thing.

    But leaving them unprotected from measles, mumps, pertussis and Hib is better?

    What exactly did Wakefield have right? Which MMR vaccine was his research on, the one used in the UK before or after 1992? Remember the one adopted after 1992 is the Jeryl Lynn mumps strain version that has been in use in the USA since 1971.

    People who critisise need to look at what is in the vaccinations and ask themselves are they necessary.

    So, you don’t think avoiding the one in a thousand chance of severe neurological complications and the 20% chance of pneumonia from measles necessary? You don’t think that protecting babies from death due to pertussis by surrounding them with children protected by DTaP and adults with Tdap necessary?

    If you have actual evidence that the MMR causes more harm than measles, mumps and rubella, then please present it. Just make sure it is not from a retracted paper involving twelve case reports.

  13. Roger Kulp September 7, 2010 at 03:06 #

    Catherine and others who might still think the MMR shots cause autism,need to take some time,to read the full 183 page decision on the Michelle Cedillo case.

    Click to access Hastings-Cedillo.pdf

    First you need to compare the qualifications of the “experts”,the Cedillo family,with those the Office of Special Masters called on.

    That said,even if Wakefield’s results had been proven correct in subsequent unbiased studies,which they weren’t,the Dublin lab, Unigenetics,used to “find the measles virus in the gut of autistic children”,both in Cedillo,and in the children in the original Wakefield study:

    -Refused to allow third party quality control assessment of their work.

    -Included contaminated specimens,and false positives (for measles virus)in the results reported in the Wakefield study.

    -Had doctored,and possibly fraudulent records/notebooks detailing their testing procedures.

    -May “have been deliberately using incorrect settings on their testing machine,in order to generate ‘positive’ results that might support the MMR/autism causation theory”(Tr.2009 11A)
    Footnote 71,p.51

    This is just a fraction of the damning evidence in this document, very little of which made it into the media or blogosphere,and there was no way it could have,given there is so much here.


  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - MMR vaccine damaged man « Left Brain/Right Brain -- - August 30, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liz Ditz, Liz Ditz, Shannon Rosa, Catherina+ScienceMom, LianeKCarter and others. LianeKCarter said: RT @shannonrosa: RT @ejwillingham: UK vax court does rt thing in spite of obvious possibility of misconstruction/misuse of verdict: #mmr […]

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