In one case, did government cede vaccine-autism link?

March 7, 2008

A sealed case settled in November by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded damages to a girl who developed autism-like symptoms after being vaccinated.

A case settled in November by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded damages to a girl who developed autism-like symptoms after being vaccinated.

The girl, Hannah Poling, developed the symptoms after receiving nine vaccines during a 2000 visit to her pediatrician, when she was 18 months old. Her parents, a neurologist and a trial attorney, brought a suit before HHS's Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation.

The case was settled in November of 2007, and had been sealed. The government had ceded the point that there was a link between the vaccines and the girl's autism. The decision was recently posted on an autism Web site, after which the girl's parents broke their court-mandated silence. The court is still determining a settlement figure.

The girl's parents, interviewed on Larry King Live, advocate that children continue to receive vaccines. Hannah's autism, they believe, was the result of a latent predisposition for a mitochondrial disease. The Polings also stressed the need to develop a screening test for mitochondrial disease, which is currently undetectable.