Industry News: Warrington mum wins £90,000
The mother of an epileptic teenager has won compensation from the government after a jury made up of a judge and two doctors established her son’s brain damage was caused by the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Robert Fletcher, 18, from Warrington, Cheshire, was severely brain damaged after being given the vaccine at the age of 13 months. He is not autistic but does suffer from frequent epileptic fits and is unable to talk. He cannot stand or feed himself. Robert’s family successfully appealed after their earlier application, through the Government’s Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme, was turned down in 1997.
His mother Jackie has now won 90,000 in compensation from a medical assessment panel. However, the ruling is not considered to be relevant to the question of whether there is a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, a link originally suggested by Dr Andrew Wakefield in a now-discredited study which was published in The Lancet in 1998.
Mrs Fletcher, who has campaigned for justice for Robert for the last 16 years, said: “What I’m hoping now is that other parents whose children have suffered a similar reaction to Robert can maybe go down the same route that we’ve gone down to achieve justice for their children.”
A Department of Health spokesperson commented: “This decision reflects the opinion of a tribunal on the specific facts of the case and they were clear that it should not be seen as a precedent for any other case.” He added: “The safety of MMR has been endorsed through numerous studies in many countries. Thankfully, more parents are having their children vaccinated with MMR and consider it as safe as other childhood vaccines.”