Case Model: Howard

Howard v. Secretary of Health and Human Services,
Office of Special Masters, No. 03-550V
Filed: March 22, 2006

  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Hypereosinophilic syndrome (HIS)
  • Not entitled to compensation

Petitioner Coralee Howard alleged that the hepatitis B vaccination that her daughter Sierra Howard received on April 10, 2000 caused her condition of hypereosinophilic syndrome (HIS).

Special Master Hastings found that petitioner failed to demonstrate that Sierra’s condition of HIS was caused in fact by that vaccination, and thus concluded that the petitioner was not entitled to compensation.

The Special Master found that the petitioner failed to satisfy Prong 3 of the Althen test, and noted that it was unnecessary for him to make conclusions on the first two prongs. He also found that Sierra’s HIS was caused by a viral infection, unrelated to the vaccination.

The reasoning of the Special Master exhibits the following features:

    • It contains a finding against petitioner on Prong 3, and makes no finding that Prongs 1 and 2 are not satisfied;
    • It makes a finding for the government on the affirmative defense;
    • It compares the similarity of case reports with the circumstances in the petitioner’s case; and
    • It assesses the credibility of a lay witness against evidence from medical records.

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