[back] MMR legal funding
Payout scandal of children left disabled by jabs
Mail on Sunday Feb 29, 2004
BITTER: Kay Stait is still fighting for compensation for her son Ben, who developed epilepsy after a three-in-one jab in 1994 and has fits every day,' she said. 'He needs 24-hour care and has been in and out of hospital for years. Yet he was a perfect baby, just beautiful. I feel bitter and terribly cheated but we won't stop trying.'
Despite changes in the law, only one out of 171 cases succeeded in 2000 and the following year just two out of 176 were successful.
Claims jumped to 406 in 2002 but only eight families received payments, while of the 183 families.
THE Government has been accused of breaking a promise to compensate hundreds of parents whose children were left brain-damaged or disabled by routine immunisation jabs.
Figures obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal there were just 11 settlements over the past four years despite nearly 1,000 claims for damages being made.
Campaigners say they are being cheated out of money desperately needed to care for their sick children and have called for the law to be reformed.
The revelations come as debate rages over the safety of the controversial MMR vaccine and the Government's response to fears of a link to childhood autism.
Ministers won praise in 2000 for updating the 1979 Vaccine Damage Payment Act. The then Social Security Secretary, Alistair Darling, said an extra £60 million had been earmarked for families of affected youngsters and it would be easier for parents to make claims.
But critics believe just a fraction of that amount has actually been passed on and the number of successful claims is lower than ever.
Dr Mahmood Javidi, a retired accident and emergency consultant from Warrington, Cheshire, has twice been denied compensation for his son Cyrus, 11, who suffered brain damage after having a combined jab for diphtheria, tetanus and whopping cough in 1992.
Cyrus is now unable to speak and is forced to communicate by drawing his parents a picture whenever he wants something. Dr Javidi, 63, who worked in the NHS for 30 years, said: 'My child was given a vaccine that made him disabled and made our lives a misery - somebody has to take responsibility. The Government approach to this is all wrong.'
Ben Stait developed severe epilepsy after a second dose of the same jab in October 1994, when he was three months old. Within hours of the vaccination, his mother Kay, 38, from Wolverhampton, noticed his eyes were rolling and his arms were splayed and limp. Despite confirmation from experts at Great Ormond Street Hospital that the vaccine was probably to blame, Kay and her husband David were turned down for compensation.
'Ben cannot talk or feed himself who sought help last year, none was successful.
Olivia Price, of the Vaccine Victims Support Group, said most parents were turned down unless they could provide irrefutable evidence that vaccines damaged their babies.
'We believe in vaccines but a small number of children are damaged by them. But these children are just being turned down flat and the parents left devastated. We want the law revamped. It's not working.'