Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Censored on Olmsted on Autism: Gone Gary Gone

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1 comment:

  1. Posted at AoA on April 27, 2010 at 2:01pm (EDT)

    @Dan

    "Autism parents and their attorneys who’ve dealt with the vaccine court would take issue with the idea that the process has ever been “objective and dispassionate,”"

    Probably the main reason that they object to such an idea is because it does not jive with their strongly held personal opinions that vaccines caused their children's autism.

    "suggesting parents were duped by ridiculously bogus scientific theories and greedy lawyers"

    Such an idea should not be summarily dismissed. Indeed, places like Age of Autism promote bogus scientific theories (e.g., that mercury causes autism and that autism can be cured by using untested chelators like OSR#1 sprinkled on breakfast cereals), and it is not unheard of for there to be greedy lawyers.

    "Yet government lawyers conceded one case before it was even heard – stipulating that Hannah Poling’s autism and seizure disorders were caused by vaccinations."

    This is factually inaccurate. The court did not concede that her autism was caused by vaccines. The court found that the vaccines reasonably contributed to worsening an underlying mitochondrial disorder, leading to encephalopathy. What is not declared is the mechanism by which the vaccine resulted in her injury (e.g., was it a fever? if so, would any fever have similar results?). It should also be noted that the standard of evidence for the Vaccine Court is "more likely than not", equating to "just above 50%". This is a far, far lower criteria than, say, scientific inquiry.

    "a number of other rulings over the years awarded compensation to children for what were actually symptoms of autism by any other name"

    What rulings would these be? Billy Banks, for whom the court found that vaccines cause Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, not autism?

    "as the science linking autism and vaccines grows stronger"

    And what science would that be? As more and more well-designed, controlled studies are performed, the autism-vaccine connection is growing ever more tenuous.

    "moving new cases along as fast as possible would be yet another way to prevent a critical mass from drawing public attention."

    The timely review and adjudication of cases also ensures that families do not have to wait endlessly for their case to be heard. The whole purpose of the vaccine court, from a citizen's perspective, was to provide a means for timely review of vaccine injury claims and award of injuries. In the regular court system, families would have to wait years and spend excess amounts of money just waiting for their case to be heard. Add to that the fact that manufacturers, if they so chose, could use their monetary resources to bury the case in legal minutiae, until the parents were forced to drop their case due to lack of money. If the parents of autistic children swamp the Vaccine Court with new cases, those individuals who actually were injured by vaccines will be delayed their day in court, particularly if the vaccine-autism claims are spurious and completely unsupported by fact.

    "He might have seen too much in the 22 years since the court was created – years that, not coincidentally because they immunized vaccine manufacturers"

    Another factual inaccuracy. Vaccine manufacturers were not immunized from litigation. Individuals may still sue companies directly if they wish to reject the findings of the Vaccine Court. Here is a link to the history of the Vaccine Court and VICP: http://www.hhs.gov/nvpo/factsheets/fs_tableIV_doc1.htm.

    The remainder of your post does not address the substance of the rulings, but rather simply attack the style and personality of the Special Master. In short, you resort to logical fallacies instead of making valid criticisms.

    While I hope that you will post corrections to this story, I won't be holding my breath.

    This is being cross-posted to Silenced by Age of Autism.

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