01 Sep

Autism-vaccine appeal ruling disappoints family

Theresa Cedillo said the family was reviewing its legal options.

The family representing thousands of families who believe the measles vaccine caused their children’s autism are “extremely disappointed” a decision last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  It upheld a special vaccine court’s ruling denying a link between vaccines and autism.

The vaccine court’s decision was  found to be “rationally supported by the evidence, well-articulated and reasonable.”

Theresa and Michael Cedillo filed the appeal on behalf of their now 16-year-old daughter, Michelle, who suffers from autism.

“We are extremely concerned with the proceedings in regards to Michelle’s rights to a fair hearing and due process,” Theresa Cedillo said Tuesday evening in a statement to CNN.

The Cedillos claim the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine their previously healthy daughter received at 15 months triggered her autism.  At the time, the vaccine contained the mercury-based preservative thimerasol.

The Cedillos filed a claim under the Vaccine Act, which in 1988 established a special federal court to handle claims against vaccines and a tax on vaccines to pay for judgments.

The vaccine court consolidated 5,500 families’ cases claiming a vaccine-autism link.  The vaccine court chose the Cedillos case as one of three test cases representing the entire group.

Last year, the vaccine court’s presiding special masters rejected their claims, saying they were based on “bad science.”

In this appeal, the Cedillos claimed the vaccine court used an incorrect standard of proof and made procedural errors during the three-week hearing in 2007.

The appeals court rejected those claims in a 35-page decision Friday.  The appellate decision backs the medical establishment view that vaccines do not cause autism, but that has failed to convince the Cedillos and a vocal group of families with autistic children.

Theresa Cedillo said the family was reviewing its legal options.

In their initial suit filed before the vaccine court, the Cedillos asked for compensation to help pay for the constant care their daughter requires.

Post by: David Martin – CNN Medical Senior Producer
Filed under: Autism • Vaccinations

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