Yet another court decision has thrown cold water on the theory that childhood vaccines are linked to autism. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld lower court decisions that rejected such a connection in a lawsuit that was the first in a series of several test cases heard by special masters for the US Court of Federal Claims,The Legal Times writes.
Three years ago, the claims court chose several lawsuits to test various theories that were floated in about 5,000 cases alleging a link to autism and filed under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. The case at hand involved Michelle Cedillo, who was born in August 1994, vaccined with the MMR vaccine in December 1995 and, subsequently, experienced various reactions before being diagnosed with autism in July 1997. Her parents claimed thimerosal damaged her immune system.
But the appeals court wrote that "we see no legal error in the standards applied by the special master" in determining there was no link between the thimerosal preservative in the MMR vaccine and the girl's autism. The federal claims court, the Times notes, upheld a similar decision made last year by the special master, and today's federal circuit decision today affirms the ruling (you can read it right here). A similar ruling was made in another test case last May.
In reaching its conclusion, the appeals court noted that none of the girl's treating physicians were able to conclude the vaccine caused her autism. "The Special Master clearly articulated why he declined to afford significant weight to the notations made by Michelle’s treating physicians, and we see no error in his treatment of that evidence," the court wrote. But while agreeing with the Cedillos that "the government’s failure to produce or even to request the documentation underlying (an expert's) reports is troubling," the court ruled that the failure to do so does not justify reversal.