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'Shaken Baby Syndrome''Shaken Baby Syndrome'
Mounts world Campaign Over Vaccine Scanda
Mounts world Campaign Over Vaccine Scandal
Reprinted with permission from Alan Yurko
USA - An incarcerated Florida man is mounting a massive medical-legal front in his fight against a life sentence for allegedly killing, his infant son by 'shaken baby syndrome' (SBS) as gathering evidence strongly suggests that it was vaccinations, not shaking, which brought death to the child. In the meantime, the plight of Alan Yurko, 32, now in his third year of imprisonment in a Florida lockup, appears to be the tip of the iceberg of numbers of Americans wrongly jailed for SBS while iatrogyenic medicine - particularly vaccinations - may be the real culprit.
For about three and a half years Yurko, once a pre-med student, has fought against his life-plus-ten-years sentence handed down in the case of Baby Alan in 1997 by assembling a vast array of medical, scientific and legal documentation to indicate both injustice in the sentencing and far-reaching, scandals involving misplaced science. He is not alone. His equally articulate wife, Francine, who is devoting 100 percent of her time in the dual causes of freeing her husband from a bum rap while exposing the growing dark side of childhood immunizations, said the Yurkos' research indicates that as many as 140 Americans may have been wrongly imprisoned for the same thing.
And in September of last vear, Redbook magazine (in 'Murder? Or Bad Vaccines?') pointed to more than two dozen cases along the same lines. The magazine quoted Beth Clay, a staffer with the congressional Government Reform Committee, which has held several hearings on vaccine effects: "We are very disturbed to learn that there are a lot more injuries [from vaccines] than is realized. A number of people have been accused of causing Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) and jailed." While Redbook pointed to several cases, some ongoing and some dismissed, the Yurko situation is by far more the most severe.
On 31 May Francine Yurko reported via the Internet that a major fund-raiser is being planned in October in New York, dates not finally set as we went to press. In August, Francine and the Yurkos' daughter were to be hosted by the 1500- member Canine Health Concern in Scotland, which is sponsoring the Yurkos' European defence fund.
Yurko, incarcerated at the Washington Correctional Institution in Chipley, FL, announced in April that, aside from reaching out to the legal community for a detailed appeal of his case, "we now have 119 doctors, physicians, scientists. experts, professors, authors, scholars and professionals as well as 57 organizations worldwide supporting our endeavours. "We plan to make an impact. We want to shout it from the highest mountain . . . Forensically, very serious evidence has come to light, which many believe will not only show our boy was killed bv vaccines, but will send a shock wave through the medical community and forensic circles.
"Doctors and scientists from 15 countries, including the US. have stood up to support us. We have numerous reports from experts who, after reviewing the medical records, have declared my innocence. Many are up in arms at the iatrocyenic implications shown in the records."
Through the inteinet and through the newsletter of the Vaccine Risk Awareness Network Inc. (VRAN), Yurko, who has become among other things, an expert in vaccinology, said he determined that one of the vaccines Baby Alan received (DTaP) "was from a batch of vaccines that stands as the number-one ranking in non-recoveries, and the fourth- ranking in total events reported." He said the batch, DTaP 7H81507, was a "hot lot" - that is, a batch with 10 or more "adverse events" (from the VAERS, or Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System) or two reports of seizures or two reports of deaths - manufactured by Connaught Laboratories.
"This lot of vaccine has killed, maimed and permanently disabled more children and babies than any of the other 180 lots reported to VAERS for DTaP ever!" he wrote. "Even more amazing is that this lot's average onset for reaction is 11.45 days - exactly the time frame of my son's latent reaction period. "My son's killer has a name. It is DTaP 7H81507."
Early in the fight, Yurko came across some strong allies. In the November/December 2000 edition of the ICA review of the- International -Chiropractic Assn (ICA), veteran medical researchers Harold E Buttram MD, and Edward Yazbak MD (in Shaken Baby Syndrome or Vaccine-Induced Encephalitis? The Story of Baby Alan) concluded: "We have ... observed that the train of events in the present case, culminating in death, could be explained by the presence of pneumonia together with a viral meningitis and/or vaccine-induced encephalitis. Shaken Baby Syndrome has never caused pneumonia and meningitis. Baby Alan died of a vaccine reaction."
The Yurkos said that Drs Buttram and Yazbak had spent nearly 2000 hours reviewing and researching the case. They are among a growing number of scientific experts, including those overseas, who believe vaccinations were the cause of the death and whose research was completely overlooked or disregarded when Yurko went on trial. Francine added that a second Buttram article had been approved for publication this fall (autumn) in the Medical Sentinel. In the meantime, she told the ICHF, "I lost my job, my family, my husband. I've been through it all, but you can't imagine what Alan has been through."
Once treated as something like a pariah in the Florida prison, where child-related crimes carry an aura of sexual misconduct, Alan Yurko had stated in correspondence that his day-to-day existence, harrowing in the best of times, was complicated by other prisoners' assumptions of what his alleged guilt was. Despite severely restricted communications access to the outside world Alan, who has variously worked in construction and property reconversion, also writes poetry and paints while being a master calligrapher. He has been able to organize an international outreach programme aimed not only at his situation but that of those similarly situated, while also boning up on medicine and studying to become a certified law clerk.
While bereft of funds, the Yurkos are impressed by the outpouring of support they have received from thousands of people who are becoming aware of their plight - some 'of whom are as outraged at the legal system as they are, at the implication of homicide by iatrogenicity. Francine Yurko told the ICHF that while the arrest of Alan Yurko - and, even for 10 hours, her own detention - she had believed that sound medical testimony would lead to the freeing of her husband. "I just couldn't believe that despite the good medical evidence, they couldn't understand it. I thought, 'What is wrong with these people?' We had scientific evidence, but we were outnumbered and out-gunned. I used to believe that justice would prevail."
Dismissing Alan's court-appointed attorney as a 'public pretender', Francine Yurko described how she had been harassed and intimidated to testify against her husband and how, refusing to do so, officials threatened to take their other child, a daughter, away. "So I was actually jailed for 10 hours, booked, showered, treated like a common criminal, and they never even charged me!" she said. She lost her job with a convenience store while throwing herself headlong into the fight for Alan's vindication. Synthesizing the case for the VRAN Newsletter, Alan Yurko wrote: "Vaccinations are licensed for use in healthy individuals only. My son, Alan, was vaccinated despite several contraindications. He was a premature baby, weighing only 5 lb. 8 oz. at birth. "My wife's pregnancy was complicated with gestational diabetes and group B streptococcal infection (which in itself poses a high risk of infant death). "My son suffered in his short life from pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome, and hyperbilirubinaemia. Despite all of this, he was given a cocktail of vaccines at eicht weeks of age. The day after he was vaccinated, our baby developed a fever and started to fuss. Ten days later he elicited a high pitched scream. We were told to expect this and not to worry. A couple of days later he stopped breathing. I rushed my baby to the hospital where he died after several iatrogenics took place (iatrogenic diseases are those caused by physicians). "Because we could not explain his injuries, and because I was the last adult alone with him, I was charged with aggravated child abuse and first degree murder. We could not afford counsel; our lawyers were public defenders. "I am serving a life sentence in Florida without the possibility of parole. I did not kill my son. His death was the result of medical treatment he received, and a fatal reaction to his childhood immunizations."
September 2000, Redbook recounted how Malcolm Scoon of Queens NY, once a practising anaesthesiologist, had been convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the 'shaking' death of his daughter Mariah, who had died of a brain haemorrhage, and how he was serving two to six years in a maximum security prison in New York. To those who knew Malcolm Scoon as a gentle man who never lost his temper, the idea that he had caused his daughter's death was impossible to accept, reported Redbook. Mariah was the Scoons' only child, the baby Malcolm and Lois, both now 41, had struggled hard to conceive, undergoing in vitro fertilization three times. Born almost three months premature in September 1995, weighing just over two pounds, the fragile baby spent the first two and a half months of her life in a neonatal intensive-care unit, much of that time on a ventilator to help her breathe. As she fought to survive, she required six blood transfusions.
"We were at the hospital every day," remembered Lois, then a teacher. "I pumped breast milk to give her. She was so small, with tubes everywhere. The hardest part for us was that we couldn't bold her, but we were thrilled she was alive. No one can say we weren't attentive parents. All the hospital records confirm this."
In fact, said the magazine, several respected medical experts insist that prosecutors fingered the wrong culprit in Mariah's death. "I cannot understand why Malcolm Scoon was found guilty," said Patrick Barnes MD, former chief of paediatric neuroradiology at Boston Children's Hospital. "I've been looking at injury to the brain for 22 years, and in that time, I've reviewed a lot of child abuse cases. This was not one of them."
"Instead, Barnes and others are convicted, that Scoon is among a arowing number of parents who are unfairly blamed for the side effects of vaccines given to millions of American babies each year," Redbook reported.
"There is a sudden groundswell of these cases," agrees John Menkes MD, a paediatric neurologist at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Even when there are other, more likely medical explanations for a baby's injuries, Menkes said, prosecutors rush to judgment - and he is cynical about the reasons: "Ambitious prosecutors get their names in the paper. It's a career boost for them."
"Helen Carey, a 33-year-old mother of three, still weeps at the memory of her husband, Bill's, arrest." reported Redbook, 'Their six-month-old son, Ryan, had just had his second DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) shot, along with two other vaccines for polio and hepatitis B."
"Ryan's first dose of DTP had been followed by a night of fever and vomiting. This time, Ryan's fever set off convulsions. His parents rushed him to Hunterdon Medical Centre in Flemington, NJ, where doctors noted that the seizures were most likely a reaction to the DTP shot.
"But the next day, Ryan was examined at nearby Robe Wood Johnson Hospital, where an MRI showed three subdural haematomas, or spots of bleeding in the brain. A hospital social worker, convinced that the injuries were a sign of SBS, called child-welfare authorities and the police. Ryan was taken from his parents, and his father - a police Officer - was arrested. It was the worst day of our lives, said Helen Carey. "We not only had a son who was very sick, we were told we had caused it. I had never seen my husband cry until then. He'd been on the force for nine years. Imagine how we felt when police surrounded our house, pounded on the door, and took him away in cuffs.
During Carey's trial in September 1998, his lawyer discovered that Ryan's DTP shot had come from a hot lot that had caused seizures in at least 17 other children. Carey was acquitted. Ryan, now four, is permanently brain damaged.
Larry Gray, 34, of Macomb, OK, was also accused of causing the massive brain injury that has left his son Christopher, now 11, blind and unable to walk, talk, or swallow, reported Redbook. "First, we were told our son would be a vegetable for the rest of his life," recalled Gray. "Then they accused me of trying to kill my child. I wasn't permitted to see my son. I'd given him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation that night, for heaven's sake."
Gray, too, was eventually acquitted after doctors agreed that the injuries could have been a severe reaction to DTP. "But I was guilty until proven innocent," he said, "not the reverse." Observed Redbook.
The resistance to the truth about adverse reactions takes both an emotional and a financial toll on families. After his acquittal, Carey returned to his job as a police officer in Union County, NJ and received $100,000 in back pay for the time he was suspended. But the family's finances remain in ruins. "We spent considerably more than that on legal fees and we were forced to sell the house we'd just built," says Helen Carey. The Careys are seeking an award from the Vaccine Compensation Fund to cover the cost of Ryan's care.