Follow that Story: Autism Theory Goes to Court

Last year, we introduced you to Joshua Shoemaker, an autistic boy from Columbus whose parents believe his disorder was caused, at least in part, by mercury poisoning from childhood vaccines (“Raising Joshua,” Nov. 15, 2006). Although mainstream medical studies have dismissed the link between vaccines and the disorder, many parents have rallied around it, and the theory is now being tested in court. This week, a trial began before a federal court in Washington, D.C. It’s a test case, meant to help resolve the more than 4,800 claims filed with the government by families who allege their children developed autism from a mercury preservative once contained in routine vaccines. As CBS News reports, the plaintiff family is trying to prove that their 12-year-old daughter, Michelle Cedillo, got autism from the shots. If they are successful, the case could pave the way for thousands of families to receive compensation from the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund. It could also be a public health nightmare for the popularity of vaccines. – Lisa Rab
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