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Preventing & Treating Communicable Conditions

Boatmon and Cupid v. Secretary of Health and Human Services

Overview

Boatmon and Cupid v. Secretary of Health and Human Services (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Nov. 7, 2019): The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a lower court decision finding that the parents of a child who died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) failed to prove that vaccinations caused the child’s death. The infant, J.B., died of SIDS 2 days after receiving typical childhood vaccines. The National Vaccine Injury Act allows recovery for certain injuries established as causally related to vaccines. SIDS is not listed on the act’s Injury Table. Recovery under the act is only allowed for other injuries if one proves a vaccine caused the injury. After trial, the Special Master found that the vaccines caused J.B.’s death from SIDS. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims reversed that decision. On appeal, the Federal Circuit upheld the reversal. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ experts testified that there is no evidence linking vaccines to SIDS in general and no evidence linking vaccination to J.B.’s death. Although the plaintiff’s expert testified that there was a causal link, the court found that the testimony was unsupported by “reputable medical or scientific explanation.” Read the decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – December 13, 2019.

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