Elias Tembenis, Another Vaccine-Injury Case

January 20, 2011

20 Jan | AHRP – CBS News reports about “yet another vaccine injury case you probably won’t hear much about… the tragic death of little Elias Tembenis.”   According to court and medical records, Elias was born on Aug. 23, 2000 and appeared healthy until Dec. 26 when he received his second dose of diphtheria, tetanus, pertusis DTaP vaccine, developed a fever and began having seizures, followed by epilepsy and death.

On November 29, 2010, the US Court of Vaccine Compensation ruled in favor of his parents against unpersuasive arguments by the government.  Elias’ case becomes quietly filed away in vaccine court archives with nearly 1,300 other vaccine brain injuries – none of them apparently being pooled for study.  An undetermined number of them, like Elias’, involving autism diagnoses. But to win a case in the Vaccine Court, the condition, autism, cannot be cited.

Indeed, in an earlier report, CBS investigative reporter, Sharyl Atkisson, who had examined federal vaccine court decisions over the years, reported:

Children who end up with autistic symptoms or autism have won vaccine injury claims over the years-as long as they highlighted general, widely-accepted brain damage; not autism specifically. But when autism or autistic symptoms are alleged as the primary brain damage, the cases are lost.

The debate over the links between vaccines and autism – which is triggered by brain damage – is extremely contentious. The great majority of medical opinion contends that vaccines don’t cause autism. However, many of the same experts concede that vaccines can, in rare instances, cause brain damage.

For example, Dr. Brian Strom, of the University of Pennsylvania, who has served on Institute of Medicine panels advising the government on vaccine safety, says “the prevailing medical opinion is that vaccines are scientifically linked to encephalopathy, but not scientifically links to autism.”

If so, why is the medical profession–including and especially, government health officials–so resistant to examining the problem and the evidence to ascertain what may be the cause of sudden developmental regression–emergence of autism– in previously healthy infants?

Why are doctors who do try to study the problem, regarded as pariahs?

Surely, the charade of turning a blind eye by deliberately obfuscating the terminology–i.e., putting the head in the sand as if to protect against the evil eye–is especially egregious within the context of legal proceedings whose purpose is to determine the medical-scientific merit of the arguments set forth by two parties to a dispute.

Who, exactly is being protected by the refusal of the medical profession to examine the possible link between childhood vaccines and autism, and by the Court to refuse to entertain the possibility that a connection may exist?

This issue is far from being settled.

More on this issue is posted at the Alliance for Human Research Protection.

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