Rolf Hazlehurst, Esq (Father of an autistic child whose claim was denied in Vaccine Court)
"My son's case was the second test case in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding in what is known as Vaccine Court. ...My son is eleven years old. He suffers severe and permanent brain damage. In all probability, he'll spend his adult life locked in a mental institution. ... When you consider that the rate of autism has risen from one in 10,000 to one in 100 in less than twenty years, we as parents have a moral obligation to legitimately question vaccine safety. ...If I had time to explain, I'd like to talk about the financial conflicts of interest between the pharmaceutical industry, the FDA, and the CDC, but unfortunately, that would take all day.
"The main point I want to talk about is my personal experience in Vaccine Court. For twenty-five years, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986 has kept vaccine-injured children out of state and federal court. It should be called the National Vaccine Manufacturers Protection Act. ... For twenty-five years, the government has said that before you can go to a court of law, you must first to Vaccine Court. It's highly misleading for the government to refer to Vaccine Court as a court. In Vaccine Court, there is no judge, no jury, and the most basic rules of law do not apply. The rules of evidence do not apply. The rules of civil procedure do not apply. The rules of discovery do not apply. In Vaccine Court, the rule of law and the American legal system has been replaced by what is known as a Special Master. A Special Master is nothing more than a politically appointed, government attorney. Vaccine Court is nothing more than a procedural hurdle that has kept the vaccine-autism issue out of court for twenty-five years. I truly believe that if it were not for the Vaccine Act of 1986, the autism epidemic would not be possible. I've been an attorney for 15 years and in my personal opinion the actions of the government officials in Vaccine Court is part of the most frightening and blatant abuse of power that I've ever witnessed.
"I'd like to explain just one example. ... That's the case of Hannah Poling and what I call the the Zimmerman issue. In essence, Dr. Zimmerman is one of the top neurologists in the country. He was an expert witness for the government. He submitted a written opinion which stated, there is no scientific basis for a connection between the MMR, mercury intoxication, and autism.
"When the Cedillo case went to trial, the government did not call Dr. Zimmerman as a witness. But since we're not in a court of law, his opinion was allowed to remain in. Dr. Zimmerman subsequently filed a second opinion. He filed it on behalf of his colleague, for Hannah Poling. In that opinion, Dr. Zimmerman's opinion states words to the effect that she suffered a vaccine injury which manifested as autism. Manifested as autism, is autism.
"In the first opinion, our government relied upon his evidence. In the second, contradictory opinion of Dr. Zimmerman, the government placed it under seal and it was not allowed to be used as evidence. In fact, during the closing arguments in my son's case, the government's attorney read from Dr. Zimmerman's report, read that there is no basis that thimerosal-containing vaccines and the MMR cause autism. However, it was only three weeks later that the same government attorneys used Dr. Zimmerman's second contradictory opinion to secretly and very quietly compensate Hannah Poling. I submit that the government compensated Hannah Poling as a tactical decision and procedural maneuver to prevent Dr. Zimmerman's second opinion from being used as evidence.
"I want to clarify. I am in no way critical of the Polings. They have done anything wrong at all. For that matter, I'm not critical of Dr. Zimmerman. In fact, the Polings filed what is called a motion for complete transparency. Basically what that means is Hannah Poling's parents wanted to talk about their child's case. They wanted to make their child's medical records public. They wanted to make their child's records public in order to help other children. The government opposed that motion for complete transparency, continues to oppose that motion for complete transparency and has done everything that they possibly can to prevent her records from being used as evidence. ...I sincerely believe that the records in Hannah Poling's case could help an untold number of other children. I do not contend that Dr. Zimmerman did anything unethical or wrong. He's an expert in a ...rapidly deve loping field of medicine; he's entitled to change his opinion. What is wrong is for the government to have one expert with two opinions, use the opinion which says vaccines do not cause autism, take the second opinion, which said that the vaccines did cause autism, and seal it up.
"In a strange twist of fate, my son Yates was also was also a patient of Dr. Zimmerman. My son also has the same neurological diagnosis, regressive encephalopathy with features of an autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Julie Gerberding, who's the former head of the CDC, tried to twist this into, oh well, Hannah Poling's case is different from everybody else's. She's really not autistic. It’s all a mitochondrial disorder. I don't doubt that Hannah Poling does have a mitochondrial disorder. We subsequently learned that my child has a mitochondrial disorder. In fact, many of the parents that I know who’ve been able to afford to have their children tested, [have found that their children have] a mitochondrial disorder.
"The President promised us complete transparency. That's not the case in the autism proceeding. Again the government has done everything that it can to prevent the fact that the government's expert witness submitted two contradictory affidavits, the government using the one that is favorable and sealing up the one that is not. The actions of the government in sealing up Dr. Zimmerman's second contradictory opinion is wrong, dishonest, corrupt, obstruction of justice. I would call it perpetration of fraud upon the court, except we're not in the court, we're in the so-called Vaccine Court. Now the Supreme Court has told us that in almost any case, if your child is injured, you cannot go to a court of law. Instead, you must go to Vaccine Court. I submit to you, look up kangaroo court, in a legal dictionary and it'll describe the Vaccine Court to a tee. Unfortunately, in the past nine years, I 've learned more than I ever wanted to about vaccines, autism, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986. And of this I am certain: One of the fundamental causes of the autism epidemic is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986. This program is broken and it is out of control. I hope every American will join us in demanding a Congressional inquiry into the vaccine program. I think most Americans would be shocked if they knew what has happened.”