Parents of autistic boy in fight for MMR damages

18 Nov 2002

THE parents of a boy who developed autism after being given the MMR
vaccination are suing its producers for thousands of pounds.
Nurse Karen Goodall and her husband Peter are part of a legal action
involving parents from all over the country.
They are claiming unspecified damages of more than 50,000 from Merck and
Co, based in Hertfordshire, for their son, Michael.

The couple, who live in Appletree Grove, Burwell, have joined other parents
in the High Court action over the vaccination for mumps, measles and

Mrs Goodall, 41, said that Michael, now aged 10, seemed a normal baby until
he was given the vaccine at 17 months when the family was living in

"As a nurse I believe in vaccination. My daughter Natalie, who is three
years older than Michael, had it and was fine," she said.

"Michael was walking before he was a year old and was chattering away as
most little ones do. But after he had the MMR it all stopped. He wouldn't
respond and he wouldn't look at us."

Michael, who was diagnosed as having autistic tendencies in February, 1995,
now attends a special school, Green Hedges at Stapleford. But when he is not
at school he requires 24-hour attention.

"He does not speak and he gets very frustrated and agitated when he can't
make himself understood," said Mrs Goodall.

"He is 5ft tall and weighs eight and a half stone and has smashed four doors
in the house as well as no end of videos. He has no sense of danger so we
have to watch him all the time.

"I can only work part-time because of the need to look after him.

"I understand why the Government wants people to give their children the
vaccine. But the incidence of autism is so high now that I want 100 per cent
proof that it isn't caused by the vaccination."

She said that she and her husband hoped to win damages to pay for Michael's
future care.