Autism Omnibus – a disaster for the families

After 5 years of delays and legal wrangling the Autism Omnibus proceedings have finally begun. Arthur Allen has blogged about the trial and in one of his posts asks the question, Are they seriously trying to win this case?  This is a good question. There are nearly 5000 children involved in the Autism Omnibus proceedings whose parents claim that either

  1. Thimerosal containing vaccines (TCVs),
  2. MMR,
  3. or a combination of the two

are responsible for their child’s autism. The omnibus amalgamates all their claims. The special masters presiding over the vaccine court will hear three test cases for each of these three potential causes. As I understand it they will decide whether these individual cases are the result of vaccine damage and award compensation accordingly. They will also decide whether the evidence in these cases supports the general theories of causation presented by expert witnesses for the claimants. If they do it will greatly ease the path of all the remaining claimants for compensation and probably bankrupt the vaccine manufacturers unless they are bailed out by the US government.

So you would expect the family selected to bat first for the claimants to represent their best shot, to be the most straightforward, indisputable case they had. You would also expect the expert witnesses in the case to be fully prepared and briefed for what is in effect a class action suit on behalf of nearly 5000 families.

Sadly, for the Cedillo family who stepped up to the mark for this historic hearing, this seems not to be the case. Left Brain/RightBrain and Autism Diva have written detailed discussions with extensive references to the transcripts of this opening case, which expose the weakness of the case presented by expert witnesses for Michelle Cedillo.

Michelle Cedillo’s is a tragic case. According to Arthur Allen

Michelle is very ill. In addition to her autism she suffers from inflammatory bowel disease, a seizure disorder and chronic eye inflammations that have left her 90 percent blind. She was pushed into the courtroom in a wheelchair because arthritis has left her unsteady on her feet, her mother testified.

But even if she wins, how can such an obviously sick child support a general theory of causation amongst autistic children who are not blind, suffering from IBS, siezures and crippled by arthritis? And it is a big if. The testimony of her expert witnesses is less than convincing. On the balance of evidence presented so far Michelle Cedillo could easily lose her case.

And what then for the family? Their daughter is seriously ill. Someone has persuaded them that her problems are vaccine related and that by pursuing this claim they will obtain the compensation that will guarantee their child’s future. The family have my complete sympathy. I do not blame the parents for believing their lawyers’ arguments and accepting the claims of these so-called experts. But if those lawyers and their expert witnesses are laughed out of court what will happen to the Cedillo family and all the other families relying on their case? Do the anti vax campaigners have their own Anti-Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund to help the families left high and dry in the wake of their failed agenda?


3 thoughts on “Autism Omnibus – a disaster for the families

  1. I don’t have autism, but I do suffer from multiple sclerosis whic was turned into something else in terms of its severity immediately on the heels of a (routein) tetanus injection in 1999. The injection was at the urgings of my GP who said it was dangerous to go so long without one. I had not cut or injured myself. Though I questioned her of the possibilities of my MS worsening, she insisted.

    The worsening of the MS was nothing short of a nightmare (disabling me). My GP would NOT take responsibility and I had no doctors on my side. But my complaints eventually made its way to the desk of attorney, Sylvia Chin-Caplan, in Boston and immunologist Vera Byers and to the courts under the VICP. Sadly, I did not prevail and here’s, I believe, why.

    I was very disappointed right off, because on the first hearing, Ms. Byers made an erronerous reference as to where I lived. She said I lived in Montana and had to many miles to see my neurologist when this was sinply not true. She obviously confused me with another case and this gaff ultimately caused me to have to sign an affidavit refuting what she had said and re-verifying my correct place of residence. We did not get off to a flying start.

    The expert for the defense (a dr from the middle east and someone who never examined me-but claimed to be an MS doctor) forced his “theories” upon the court. He presummed to know all that happened and made his statements as if they were fact. However I was not able to testify and my attorney didn’t seem to be interested in challenging 1 thing he had to say. Some of it was actually ver wrong as it pertained to me. But nobody was interested in that.

    In hindsight, I believe the representation I received was “the only game in town” as far as vaccine injury is concerned. All these doctors and attornies were interested in was getting this over as quickly as possible. It was obviously too difficult to prove, as I had no doctors going to bat for me except Vera Beyers. However, between 2001 and 2005 I thought I had a really good chance as told to me Sylvia Chin-Kaplan. Sylvia told me about a case (she provided transcrpts as well) she had won on appeal involving a woman who was given a tetanus shot (her new job required it) and ended up disabled, being diagnosed with MS sortly afterward.

    This was an enormus loss, because I can no longer walk or take care of myself and I’m only 54 with no financial back up. I lost my business, my ability to play in my bluegrass band, my home and my husband.

    If it were not for the love and kindness of a very special someone I am now involved with, who takes care of me, I would be a goner by now.

    The medical system harms and the legal system enriches itself however they can. Down and dirty is all they are interested in.

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