I SAW MY SON'S HEALTH SLUMP

Bristol Evening Post 08/07/2000 http://www.thisismidsomerset.co.uk/

KEITH BRADFORD

A WHITCHURCH mother whose son became autistic after he had a routine vaccination says she is disgusted by the Government's continued failure to accept responsibility.

Sarah Pitts watched her 13-monthold son Luke lose his ability to speak and make eye contact almost overnight following a measles, mumps and rubella jab.

But because health bosses say there is no "credible" proven link between measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and autism, she will not be eligible for compensation for Luke, now aged six.

Sarah is the latest parent from the Bristol area to be told she is not eligible for help through a new 60 million Government aid package.

The Evening Post told last week how Paulette and Hopeton Depass's son Hayden became autistic after an MMR jab.

Because autism tends to develop at about 13 to 15 months - the same time that children have MMR jabs - health bosses say the link is just a coincidence.

Mrs Pitts said: "Although this happened to Luke when he was 13 months old, he already had a good vocabulary which was expanding all the time.

"In the space of a fortnight he lost his ability to say every one of those words.

I'm positive MMR caused Luke's autism and I think it will only be a matter of time before doctors can prove it."

In 1998, Sarah and Nigel Pitts launched a campaign to raise 11,000 for their son to swim with dolphins in America.

Evening Post readers helped them to reach the target and they were able to take him to the Human Dolphin Therapy Centre in Miami.

The trip and specialist care at Gay Elms have helped Luke to regain some eye contact and his responses are now much improved.

Sarah said: "As time has gone on, he has got better. There is still no speech but he starting to make more noises.

"Getting funding for Luke has always been a major problem and I cannot work because I need to look after him.

There are so many of us in this position and I think it's disgusting that the Government won't help."

The Evening Post launched a campaign for vaccine victims after highlighting the case of Matthew Needs.

Matthew, of St George, is 25 but has the mental age of a three-year-old.

He suffered brain damage after he was given a vaccine for whooping cough when he was seven months old.

But he was denied compensation because the Department of Health never accepted the vaccine was to blame for his brain damage.

k.bradford@bepp.co.uk     

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