Woman Develops Guillain-Barré Syndrome After Flu Shot, Awarded Over $200,000 in Damages

A flu vaccine is by far the most common vaccine to receive. It’s also a vaccine people get multiple times throughout their lives, often on an annual basis. While meant to protect us from illness, each vaccination comes with the risk of suffering from an adverse reaction. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) is a federal program that was created to help people who may have been injured by, or suffered adverse reactions to, certain vaccines. The program provides financial compensation to these individuals.

Some adverse reactions are more severe than others. Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) can be severe and even lead to paralysis and death. It is a covered injury under the NVICP. GBS is a rare neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves. It often begins with tingling and weakness that starts in one portion of the body and moves to the rest. Muscle weakness, loss of muscle control, and paralysis are also symptoms of GBS. While rare, GBS is an adverse reaction seen in a variety of vaccines - especially influenza vaccines.

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Ms. C suffered from GBS after receiving an influenza vaccine on October 6, 2016. Almost 3 years later, she filed a petition for compensation with the NVICP, which is handled by the Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C.
Throughout this time, she made visits to the emergency room, an adult ambulatory care clinic, and a neurologist. She continued to feel symptoms to a varying degree through early 2021. As part of treatment, Ms. C underwent physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and Intravenous Immunoglobulin therapy.

In this case, the respondent (Federal Court representative) and the petitioner (Ms. C) agreed that compensation should be awarded, but the two parties could not settle on a specific amount.

Since there is no set formula for calculating compensation, the special master presiding over Ms. C’s case had to rely on the evidence presented. Based on the description of Ms. C’s pain and suffering and previous similar cases, the special master awarded compensation totaling $204,233.89. This represented $180,000 for pain and suffering and $24,233.89 as a reimbursement of medical expenses.

We at DuPont and Blumenstiel are proud to be part of a small group of law firms that focus on representing persons with vaccine related injuries. Call 614-389-9711 today to have your case evaluated.