Mum says MMR jab made son autistic -
Jun 7 2007 - by Samantha Castle, North Wales Weekly News
A CONWY Valley mum is fighting a controversial decision which has stopped funding her case against the makers of an MMR vaccine which she claims caused her son’s autism.
Donna, 33, whose son, now 13, wishes to remain anonymous, was denied funding to seek compensation from the manufacturer of the vaccine, Glaxo SmithKline.
Donna, along with other affected families, were originally granted funding to seek compensation, but it was suddenly withdrawn by the Legal Services Commission.
“My son had the MMR jab a week after his first birthday and suffered the normal side effects connected with the vaccine. However, his symptoms persisted and got dangerously worse.
“Within a week he had a purple rash and his whole body had swollen up like the Michelin Man. He wouldn’t stop screaming, it was quite clear he wasn’t well.
“It did die down but all his normal functions, like eye contact and dialogue he knew before, had gone since the jabs. While in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital with his older sister, I noticed a poster on the wall about autism which listed the symptoms, and he had seven of the 10. It was then I made the connection between the MMR jab and autism.”
Donna was referred to Rhuddlan Children’s Centre and a consultant psychologist confirmed her son was autistic.
“He was diagnosed then and there. I thought I was doing the best for my son, but it took his life away from him and the family,” added Donna.
“Some years later I was put in touch with solicitors supporting over 1,500 other parents in a similar situation, and the support group Justice, Awareness and Basic Support (JABS), and that’s when we started legal proceedings.”
Sir Nigel Davis was the presiding judge who, three years ago, rejected an appeal by MMR vaccine litigants against the decision not to award legal aid for their fight for compensation. But he failed to declare his interests.
Campaigners have now discovered that Mr Justice Davis’ brother, Sir Crispin Davis, was appointed a non-executive director of drugs multinational Glaxo SmithKline in 2003, a year before the appeal came to court.
Also, since 1999 Sir Crispin had been chief executive of Reed Elsevier, publisher of The Lancet magazine which originally published research into the links between autism and MMR in 1998. But by 2004 the magazine had changed its mind, and announced its change of heart only the week before Sir Nigel was due to make his decision on the MMR litigants’ appeal.
Sir Crispin Davis was knighted by Blair’s government in June 2004, four months after the Lancet article was published.
Now, complaints against him are being filed to the Office for Judicial Complaints, which investigates allegations of questionable conduct by judges, coroners and magistrates. The inquiry continues.