20 years ago Katie Stephen, along with thousands of other children, was inoculated against measles, mumps and rubella with the controversial MMR vaccine. A few days later she lost the hearing in her left ear.
Since this event, Miss Stephen and her family have been fighting to prove the case to the Vaccine Damage Payments Unit.
When Miss Stephen had the vaccine the NHS were distributing leaflets which urged parents to have their children vaccinated. Miss Stephen’s parents were simply following government advice when they decided that Katie should have the injection. They believe that, as they were simply following medical advice, and that this advice directly led to Katie losing the use of her left ear, Katie should receive some form of compensation.
Full £120,000 medical negligence compensation payout denied
Katie, who is now 21 years old, despite successfully proving her case for medical negligence compensation to the Vaccine Damage Payments Unit has been denied the full £120,000 payment to victims of vaccine injury. The reason for this is that Katie is only deaf in one ear. This is defined as a 20% disablement. The £120,000 compensation payment requires the victim to have suffered a 60% disablement as a result of the vaccine.
Though this case may seem very severe, the risks to children who have the MMR vaccine are actually extremely low. The strain of the MMR vaccine which caused Miss Stephen to lose her hearing was given to over 5.4 million children in Britain between 1988 and 1992. Of these 5.4 million individuals, only 10 reported deafness as a result of the vaccine.
Though it’s clear that Miss Stephen won’t be able to claim the full £120,000 in compensation that she may have otherwise been entitled to, there are other options available to her through other benefit systems. The Department of Health have also issued a statement which highlights how important, and safe, the MMR vaccine is.