When we worry about the possible side effects of vaccines, we usually think of the dangers to children or to those in other vulnerable groups. While it is rare, anyone can have an adverse reaction to a vaccine, as shown by a recent United States Court of Federal Claims case.
Justin W. Gerhardt joined the Marines and entered Officers Candidate School in 2007. As a requirement of his enrollment, he received a number of vaccines over a two day period including Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus and Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Meningococcal, inactivated Poliovirus and Flu. Three days later, Gerhardt, who was 23 years old at the time and in great shape, began having difficulty walking, fainted, ran a fever, experienced seizure like symptoms, and a decline in cognitive functioning. He was brought to the emergency room and then transferred to Bethesda National Naval Medical Center in Maryland. His doctors, one of whom is a vaccine expert suspected, but were not convinced that his vaccinations were the cause of his injuries. They began treating him for a viral infection and ran a multitude of tests which all came back normal. He was then diagnosed with encephalitis, a swelling of the brain. After a few days, he was released and fell ill again. He returned to the hospital and was finally diagnosed with post-vaccination encephalitis, among other ailments. He received physical therapy and his condition improved somewhat. Later in the year, the Vaccine Healthcare Center Network tried to determine if the vaccines were the cause of Gerhardt’s injuries but their findings were inconclusive. His doctors maintained the position that the vaccinations were the cause of his decline and recommended that he pursue a claim under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Gerhardt was subsequently discharged from the military as he was unable to perform his duties.
In order to receive compensation in a vaccine injury case, the petitioner must prove that is was more likely than not that the vaccine caused the injury. Although there was a variety of inconclusive and conflicting evidence in this case, the court found that Gerhardt met this standard. Although damages still need to be decided, Gerhardt will receive compensation for what the court believes are injuries caused by the immunizations.
If you or someone you know fell ill or was injured after receiving a vaccine, you should contact an experienced attorney right away to determine if you have a valid vaccine injury claim. Call Leah Durant at (202)800-1711 to discuss your case.