Case Model: Hawkins

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

Hawkins v. Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services,
Office of Special Masters, No. 00-646V
Filed: March 14, 2007

  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
  • Not entitled to compensation

Petitioner Shannon Hawkins alleged that the hepatitis B vaccination that she received on November 5, 1997 caused her to develop postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (“POTS”).

Special Master Patricia Campbell-Smith found that the petitioner failed to demonstrate that her POTS was caused in fact by that vaccination, and thus the petitioner was not entitled to compensation.

The petitioner failed to provide either a medical theory or a medical opinion supporting her claim of causation.

The reasoning of the Special Master exhibits the following feature:

    • The use of a legal rule to ground a disjunctive form of modus tollens (“the Special Master can find for the petitioner only if the petitioner’s claim is substantiated by medical records or by a medical opinion”; “the petitioner’s claim is not substantiated by the medical records”; “the petitioner’s claim is not substantiated by a medical opinion”; therefore, “the Special Master cannot find for the petitioner”).

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