Kristina Chew has detailed this case (the case that some claim links vaccines to autism, but most see no such "concession" by the government) here and here.
As I watched the news conference, I became increasingly frustrated, and then angry. You have this high power couple (he a neurologist, she a nurse turned lawyer) who obviously aren't hurting for money. Even if they haven't made it big yet, they certainly would have been able to provide for their daughter (as well as their two other kids) without the government settlement. So why did they feel compelled to go forward with this case? One thought kept coming back to me. I could almost here mom say,
"We've been cheated!"
"We had a nice, NORMAL, daughter. We were supposed to have a summer house on the Outer Banks, ski in Colorado every year, and in general be a power couple". Now mom didn't really say those things, but that's what I understood her meaning to be.
The mother did say "Hannah needs constant one on one supervision" and "My husband's heart broke when he realized his daughter might have autism". Meanwhile, the camera pans over to show a cute, well behaved 9 year old interacting with two people over on the side. And I can't help but feel sorry for this girl, who will grow up with the story that she was "damaged" by vaccines, but the parents got the evil government to pay. How she was "normal" before this (despite her genetic mitochondrial disorder-which the parents never mention), but now she is damaged goods. Supposedly mom (Terry Poling) also has a mitochondrial disorder, but has no outward signs.
Maybe mom feels guilty about "causing" her daughter's "autism", and wants to make sure that no one in their circle of friends will blame her. Perhaps she's thinking, "The government admitted it! They're the ones that did this to us! We're just like you, really we are."
I find this rather sad.
The money from the government will assist the Polings in keeping up the lifestyle they feel entitled to. They can point to the government case to "prove" that they are truly a "normal" power couple who were done wrong by their own government. And poor Hannah will always be identified within the family as "damaged goods", because that's the only way that mom and dad can keep up the pretense that everything is fine.
Meanwhile, they obviously have no concern regarding the effects on public health in this country. When the next pertussis or measles outbreak occurs because of them parroting the nonsense that vaccines cause autism (which will certainly further decrease vaccination rates in this country), will they feel the least bit guilty? Or will mom look to "help" those moms who lost their kids to vaccine preventable diseases by becoming the lawyer that encourages those parents to sue the government, too?
Here's my unsolicited advice to the Polings:
OK, you pulled it off. You managed to tap into the financial largess of the US government (which means the rest of us are paying for this). Once you get your check, do us all a favor (especially yourselves) and just stop talking about this. Because I know that you'll never publicly admit that you were wrong, that Hannah had a genetic disease that something was bound to aggravate, and it just happened to be a fever that may have been caused by vaccination, but nobody really knows.
And I know that if you get stuck in the "pity party" and blaming others that you'll never come to truly accept and love Hannah as she is. You may think that trying to constantly trying to "fix" your daughter is the best thing you can do for her, but she will tell you later how devastated she was that you never accepted her for being her. Let go of the anger you feel, or it will disintegrate your family. The rest of us will take the extra 5 years to undo the damage you've done, and educate the American public that vaccines really don't cause autism. Just take the money and go away.
------------------------- Addendum: Three other posts that give great background on this are Steve's,Emily's, and S.L.'s.
Me- Joe, husband of a great wife, and dad to two great kids, who were both adopted at birth.
Liz- My ever understanding wife, who manages to wear many hats (mom, advocate, therapist, teacher) for our kids.
Buddy Boy- Born in 2000. Funny, intelligent, inventive, and autistic. Loves machines.
Sweet Pea- Born in 2002. Typical little sister. Competitive, outgoing, and smart. Loves anything pink.