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Morgan v. HHS, (Fed. Cl.  Spec. Mstr. Dec. 10, 2015) (Gowen, SM)

Entitlement to Compensation – Ulcerative Colitis caused by HPV Vaccination

Petitioner’s expert, her treating physician, opined that non-specific immunomodulatory effects of the Gardasil vaccination could cause ulcerative colitis in susceptible individuals. He explained that although non-specific immunomodulatory effects have not yet been studied in Gardasil recipients, panniculitis has been reported in the literature after HPV vaccine in humans.  Current models of ulcerative colitis agree that there is both a genetic and an autoimmune component and that some individuals with genetic risk factors are more susceptible to developing UC.  Thus, the expert opined that in a susceptible individual, the autoimmune component may be modulated by Gardasil to create the necessary environment to develop UC.  The expert was unable to provide a measure of petitioner’s genetic susceptibility and agreed that there was no evidence indicating any specific environmental trigger for UC, such as a particular vaccine.

The specific medical theory offered was that petitioner had a cytokine response that caused diarrhea within six hours after vaccination, which developed into full-blown UC about a week later through the non-specific, adaptive immune response, within the time frame when he would expect a non-specific cross-reactive immune response.

Respondent’s expert opined that the Gardasil vaccine did not cause or contribute to petitioner’s ulcerative colitis.  He stated that the etiology of UC is unknown and there is nothing in the literature that supports the theory of causation or that the Gardasil vaccine, in particular, can cause or contribute to UC. Moreover, he had not seen an uptick in UC cases post-Gardasil.  He cited medical literature in support of the contention that vaccines, and the HPV vaccine, in particular, are considered safe in patients with UC.  Finally, he argued that Petitioner’s preexisting sacroiliitis was the first manifestation of her UC.

The special master found that Petitioner presented a reasonable theory invoking the role of both the initial innate response to the vaccine antigen and of the adaptive “nonspecific” response. The theory reasonably comported with the potential theories of inflammatory bowel disease and with the notion of non-specific or unintended responses to vaccines discussed in the literature. This was a reasonable scientific explanation of causation given the current state of medical knowledge.

With regard to Althen prong two, the Court found that the theory that an early cytokine response initially caused diarrhea, and a later T-cell mediated response caused bloody stools and full-blown ulcerative colitis, was logical even if it is a sequence “hitherto unproven in medicine.”  He rejected the argument that petitioner had a preexisting sacroiliitis that was related to her UC.

Regarding timing, the court found that it was reasonable and consistent with the theory proposed.  Petitioner’s diarrhea, originally caused by the innate immune response, failed to resolve and progressed to UC as a result of the later adaptive immune response, which was part of the continuum triggered by the vaccine.  This progression occurred about a week later, as evidenced by the onset of bloody stools, which is within the time frame medically expected for a T-cell mediated response.

In closing, the court commented that he was impressed that Petitioner’s treating physician took the time to research and prepare a report supporting her vaccine claim and spend a day in court testifying.  The court noted that the treater had the opportunity to view the evolution of the disease and the bowel itself at surgery, and drew upon his immunology training from a transplant residency to develop a reasonable theory to explain how the vaccine could and did trigger the disease.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Nancy

    Totally agree that the vaccine caused ulcerative colitis. I have a case that I’m dealing with.

  2. Rachel

    Happy and healthy with no family history of IBD or UC in my family before receiving the vaccine. Not even a year later was diagnosed with Ulcertive Colitis and have been suffering with it for going on 6 years.

  3. Christine Collins

    My daughter was a healthy vibrant 15 year old until receiving the Gardisil vaccination. She now has full blown UC. Symptoms started within weeks of the vaccination

  4. Miranda

    I was also a very healthy individual throughout my entire life and was diagnosed with UC with no family history of it. I suffered so bad from mine I ended up having a proctocolectomy and continue to have issues along with paying for numerous medications to control it.

  5. Shellie shand

    Monday August 14 my 18 year old healthy daughter was diagnosed via colonoscopy of have moderate to severe UC. Fighting a sickness that “just happened” for 3 weeks, hemo dropping to 71, lost 15 pounds and is currently still in the hospital. We are worried sick seeing this disease take her healthy happy life

  6. Elizabeth Smit

    At a research event today at a reknowned hospital, at the table I shared with 5 other mom’s of children with IBD, 3 of them reported their formerly healthy teens with no known risk factors now all have severe UC and Crohn’s – all within months of receiving HPV vaccines.

  7. Donna Batts

    My son was also diagnosed with ulcerative colitis after receiving hpv immunization shots. He suffer really bad from the disease and now he has to take remicade infusion every 6 to 7 week to try and manage the disease. He was doing fine until he was giving that hpv shot.

  8. Leslie

    My 19 year old son was diagnosed with Chron’s disease 3-4 weeks from the 3rd and final last HPV dose. No family history of this disease. I wonder if the HPV caused it.

  9. Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A.

    Leslie, you may want to contact our attorneys to determine if your son may have a vaccine injury claim. You can reach us at 888-952-5242 or you can fill out the form on the bottom of this web page.

  10. Clayton Hagel

    My daughter got Crohn’s after receiving the gardisal vaccine

  11. kathy kane

    my 14year old son started with ulcerative colitis symptoms about 5 weeks after receiving the 3rd shot of the Gardasil series. No family history of IBD that I know of. No issues prior to that. At first pediatrician thought bleeding was from constipation, then they said possible fissure, it took several months to get diagnosis of ulcerative colitis but symptoms started like I said – 5 weeks after last dose of Gardasil ….had I known I would never have allowed it

  12. Sue

    My daughter at 13 after 2nd hpv vaccine started having diarrhea not feeling well and was diagnosed with UC one of the worst cases our dr had seen in his 20 yrs. it became life threatening to where she had her large intestine removed and went through a few surgeries for reconstruction. My child was very healthy and no history within family. She became so weak. Tried infusions, diet, holistic you name it we tried. Things will never be the same for my daughter.

  13. mctlaw.

    Hi Sue, you can contact our firm by filling out the form on the page or by calling our office at 888-952-5242. We represent clients in the United States.

  14. Tonya Foux

    My son was dx’d 1month after completing his last HPV vaccine. It has been a nightmare for him as well as me and my husband for the last 6 years. His UC is so severe that doctors have wanted. To cut out his colon and do a j tube, which has a33% fail rate. Failed jtube results in a colostomy bag for a 16 year old

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