Posted on Jul 07, 2006
Boy receives $43.1 million in vaccine case
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A former Kansas City boy who became a quadriplegic after receiving a vaccination has been awarded $43.1 million under a government vaccine injury program.
The award to 7-year-old Mario Arturo Rodriguez is thought to be one of the largest settlements ever reached under the no-fault National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Mario, who now lives with his mother in Oak Harbor, Wash., received the vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella at Children's Mercy Hospital's pediatric clinic in Kansas City on Jan. 25, 2000.
The hospital was not a defendant in the lawsuit. Under the guidelines of the program, the lawsuit was filed against the Department of Health and Human Services, which runs the vaccination program.
Kansas City attorney Leland Dempsey, who represented Mario, said Thursday that he believed the settlement was one of the biggest ever reached under the program.
According to the department's Web site, the fund paid out a total of $38.2 million in cases involving 47 awards in fiscal year 2006.
"One unusual aspect of the case is that Mario is expected to have a normal lifespan, and therefore will require more years of care that will cost more money," Dempsey said. "He will need round-the-clock care, including extensive medical intervention, throughout his life."
Dempsey said the money will be paid over Mario's lifetime, probably beginning with about $2 million this year.
The program was established in 1988 to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize vaccine costs and establish an accessible forum for those injured by vaccines.
A small percentage of children have serious reactions to vaccinations. Dempsey emphasized that Mario's injuries were highly unusual and said parents should still get their children immunized.