Case Model: Grace

 In V/IP Corpus, Vaccine Compensation Reasoning, Vaccine/Injury Project

{redacted}, Grace {redacted} v. Secretary of Health and Human Services,
Office of Special Masters, No. 04-{redacted}V
Redacted version submitted: November 30, 2006

  • DTaP vaccine
  • Encephalopathy or infantile spasms disorder
  • Not entitled to compensation

The petitioner, {redacted}, sought a compensation award on behalf of her daughter, Grace {redacted}, via two different theories. First, petitioner alleged that Grace suffered the Table Injury known as “encephalopathy” after her DTaP vaccination on April 9, 2001. Second, she alleged that Grace’s “infantile spasms” disorder was caused in fact by that DTaP vaccination.

Special Master George L. Hastings, Jr. concluded that the petitioner failed to demonstrate either a Table Injury presumption of causation or causation-in-fact.

The reasoning of the Special Master exhibits the following features:

    • In deciding not to “accept, as accurate, the testimony of Grace’s mother and grandmother alleging non-responsive behavior by Grace during the first two days after vaccination,” the Special Master utilized Modus Tollens reasoning based on the medical records;
    • In rejecting the argument of the petitioner’s expert on the Table Injury claim, the Special Master used the Table definition of “encephalopathy”;
    • In concluding that the petitioner had failed to provide “a medical theory causally connecting the vaccination as the injury” (Althen prong 1), the Special Master found that the petitioner’s expert inappropriately relied upon a 1994 report issued by the Institute of Medicine; and
    • In concluding that the petitioner had failed to provide “a logical sequence of cause and effect showing that the vaccination was the reason for the injury” (Althen prong 2), the Special Master found the opinion of the petitioner’s expert to be undermined because “a close review of the record casts considerable doubt on the premise that Grace was neurologically normal prior to that vaccination,” the expert relied on the testimony of Grace’s mother and grandmother about Grace’s symptoms immediately after the vaccination, and the medical records of the treating physicians provided “very little help.”

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