Milik v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., No. 15-5109 (Fed. Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
A.M. was born in1993, and was raised in a predominately Polish-speaking household. At A.M.’s 15-month routine examination, the pediatrician noted that A.M. was a “well child.” When A.M. was two years old, his pediatrician noted that A.M. used 4 to 10 words and walked independently. When A.M. was four years old, he received his second MMR vaccination. Days later, A.M. returned to the office with a sore throat. Later episodes concerned limping and limited language skills. A doctor gave A.M. a provisional diagnosis of “Ataxia/Unsteadiness and Developmental Delay.” An MRI showed “diffuse white matter demyelination which is consistent with demyelinating process most likely some form of leukodystrophy.” By 2011, A.M. was wheelchair-bound and unable to care for himself. In 2012, at age 18, A.M. saw a specialist who opined that “[t]he finding of apparently normal development followed by a sudden loss of abilities following an insult with severe demyelination is suggestive of vanishing white matter disease. This often presents during childhood with ataxia following infection or fright.” A special master denied compensation under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, 42 U.S.C. 300aa, finding that the Miliks failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a vaccine caused A.M.’s conditions. The Claims Court and Federal Circuit upheld the denial as not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion.