Back on January 15th Meryl Dorey offered a rather messy tweet designed to sustain her fictitious claim that all vaccines are causally linked to autism.
I say “messy” because the January 14th Huffington Post article linked to, refers to the Vaccine Compensation Injury Program Court, compensating children that the ‘Post author wrongly insists have autism. Yet suppose this author – anti-vaccine terror-tattler David Kirby – was correct. We are still left with compensation awarded to children with autism. Not because of their autism.
Thus Dorey’s misleading query, “… how many more do we need b4 govt admits vaccines cause autism?”, is rather scurrilous. And that’s only if Kirby’s attempt to mislead the reader is based in fact. As it turns out the heading Vaccine Court Awards Millions to Two Children With Autism does not describe the events as they occurred.
In the case of Ryan Mojabi, on page 2 of the Court of Federal Claims Decision Awarding Damages document one reads:
On June 9, 2011, respondent filed a supplemental report pursuant to Vaccine Rule 4(c) stating it was respondent’s view that Ryan suffered a Table injury under the Vaccine Act – namely, an encephalitis within five to fifteen days following receipt of the December 19, 2003 MMR vaccine… and that this case is appropriate for compensation under the terms of the Vaccine Program.
That’s clear. Encephalitis, which is a Table injury under the Vaccine act.
Still, referring to Ryan the family had blamed all vaccines administered between March 25th 2003 to February 22nd 2005 as collectively causing “a severe and debilitating injury to his brain, described as Autism Spectrum Disorder”. Without picking over every detail there is a lack of agreement on exactly when and how persistently ill Ryan became. The family had travelled overseas and whilst the totality of doctor’s visits falls well short of that expected for a child as ill as Ryan’s parents allege, evidence was provided that he had presented with fever and rash in Tehran on January 6th 2004.
In August 2007 Ryan’s parents testified he had (post vaccination) experienced screaming, lethargy, floppiness, fever and shaking hands in 2003, just prior to travelling overseas. Ryan’s doctor has no evidence nor record of these events being reported as claimed. Nor that he had agreed to an overseas trip for Ryan whilst he was in that condition.
On page 15 of an earlier court document, Revised Ruling Regarding Factual Finding (May 2009) Ryan’s performance under Checklist for Autism in Toddlers [CHAT] on two dates well past his MMR vaccination, is discussed.
On May 10, 2004, at Ryan’s sixteen month well-child visit, Dr. Armstrong completed a Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT) screen. Ps’ Ex. 4 At 25. That CHAT screen indicated that Ryan was interested in other children, pretend play, peek-a-boo, points with index finger, makes eye contact, and brings object for show. On January 25, 2005, Dr. Armstrong examined Ryan for his twenty-four month well-baby check. Ps’ Ex. 4 at 31. During the visit, Dr. Armstrong conducted another CHAT screen, and again Ryan positively performed each of the listed behaviors.
The second case involves Emily Lowrie. Emily has a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder – not otherwise specified and seizure disorder. PDD is not autism, but may be referred to as “atypical autism”. It is a form of ASD. According to Australia’s Raising Children’s Network, symptoms are “usually fewer or less pronounced” than with Autistic disorder or Asperger’s syndrome. There is evidence that Emily did develop a Table injury close to the time of vaccination. Yet there is no evidence that autism resulted and Kirby’s claim is simply false.
The vaccines-cause-autism devotees excel in labeling PDD-NOS as “autism” and often flesh out large samples by including “autistic like symptoms” where clear diagnoses of encephalitis and encephalopathy exist. As it happens Kirby runs off the tried and true Bailey Banks case. Bailey was diagnosed with PDD – a class of conditions to which autism belongs. Meryl Dorey misled her audience at the Woodford Folk Festival by fudging such diagnoses and for good measure plagiarising part of the Banks’ final ruling document. She added “[Autism]” to misrepresent PDD after lifting a quote directly from page 17 of the Banks v. HHS case file.
Other stunners exploiting the “autism-like” symptoms include the Pace Law School student debacle orchestrated by Mary Holland. This motivated Dorey to inform a commercial radio audience “hundreds, possibly thousands of families had been compensated”, as a result of vaccines causing autism. You can chase more on it up here.
Kirby also mentions Hannah Poling as though it is a foregone conclusion she developed autism from vaccination. Hannah’s mitochondrial enzymatic deficit and many environmental factors may trigger the encephalopathy she was compensated for. Many children with her mitochondrial condition develop encephalopathy in the first two years of life. As is often the case when science meets law, evidence is challenged by other dynamics. In this case it was the tireless efforts of her parents.
Jon Poling a neurologist and his wife Terry Poling a nurse and lawyer unfortunately refer to their victory as a “landmark” in vaccine-autism compensation. Little wonder certain key documents now remain under seal in other cases, providing conspiracy fodder for the likes of Kirby.
Some of Kirby’s conspiratorial nonsense includes:
Some observers will say the vaccine-induced encephalopathy (brain disease) documented in both children is unrelated to their autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Others will say there is plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise. […] Whether HHS agreed with Ryan’s parents that his vaccine-induced brain disease led to ASD is unknown. The concession document is under seal.
It looked like the family had a weak case.
But then something changed.
In October, 2010, Ryan’s attorney filed four new exhibits (under seal) and proposed amending the court’s “findings of fact.” […]
Readers are supposed to conclude something dark and dastardly has occurred. Never mind Kirby actually repeats the fact that there is no evidence for his supposition.
Orac does a great job of knocking Kirby off and quite rightly refers to one jaw-dropper as “Grade A conspiracy mongering”. We’re asked to accept that Emily’s mother, Jillian Moller, is relaying a factual account when we read:
After the ASD diagnosis, the judge reportedly became convinced that Emily would prevail. “My attorney said she was angry, she felt forced into a corner with no choice but to find for us,” Moller said. “She said, ‘Emily has autism, and I don’t want to give other families who filed autism claims any hope.'”
One doesn’t expect any different from an attempt to amplify the long disproved, non-existent link between vaccines and autism from Meryl Dorey. Yet even amongst our most radical evidence denialists and defenders of alternatives to medicine, should not a PhD give pause to consult the facts? To at least, say, delineate between autism and PDD-NOS. Maintain a bit of fidelissima integritatum with one’s readers perchance?
Not for Dr. Peter Dingle it seems. He’d tweeted recently and placed the same conclusion in the lap of “the independent court”. Could it be? A fortnight later than Ms. Dorey’s effort the event was repeating itself? Surely there was a new story. But no. Doc Dingle had availed himself of Kirby’s caper and leaped to the same conclusion. With exactly the same HuffPost tweet. It was identical. It was… a dopellgänger!
On a serious note, the damage done by individuals such as Dingle perpetrating this myth is far from insignificant. It ignores the truth and does little for those in genuine need of compensation.
It is right and proper that children injured by vaccines are compensated. With brain damage rates of one in one million related to MMR of course we will see these cases. Yet for cases of measles infection the rates are one in one thousand. Of course there is no anti-vaccine compensation program.
Although differences are subtle, denying the evidence and etiology peculiar to vaccine injury and disability helps no-one. If we consider similar patients all presenting with Acquired Brain Injury, virtually identical symptoms yet various etiology it is easier to see the importance of this. Road trauma, stroke, near drowning, boxing or other sporting injury may all present identical motor, speech, memory and other lifestyle challenges. False links driven by ideology would rightly appear bizarre.
What we do know in these VCIP cases is that several million dollars have been awarded to each child.
Yet it was not because vaccines cause autism.