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What To Know About Guillain-Barré Syndrome And Vaccines

Vaccine2

Guillain-Barré Syndrome, also known as GBS, is a unique autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks healthy nerves. This causes nerve damage that can be severe, as well as muscle weakness and even paralysis. Symptoms can last weeks, months, or years in some cases. Even after recovery, some GBS patients can end up with lingering nerve damage.

The effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome can be physically and emotionally devastating. Part of the trouble stems from uncertainty about what the illness is and how it is caused. Many GBS sufferers – about two-thirds – developed Guillain-Barré following a respiratory illness or diarrhea caused by a bacterial infection. Some develop GBS after a virus such as influenza, while others have developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome shortly after a vaccine (most often a flu shot).

The onset of Guillain-Barré Syndrome may involve the following symptoms:

  • Weakness or tingling sensations in both legs, often ascending to the upper body
  • Difficulty walking or climbing stairs
  • Severe body aches or cramps
  • Difficulties speaking, chewing, or other facial movements
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Sudden changes to heart rate and/or blood pressure
  • Issues with digestion and bladder control

Since many of these symptoms mimic symptoms of countless other illnesses, Guillain-Barré Syndrome can be difficult to diagnose, adding to the pain and frustration.

What Are the Connections between Vaccines and Guillain-Barré Syndrome?

Researchers have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of GBS. What is known is that it is frequently triggered by other events, such as bacterial or viral infections. It is also, less frequently, triggered by vaccine administration in healthy individuals. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program recognizes a causal connection between the flu shot, for example, and Guillain-Barré if symptoms arise between 3 and 42 days after the administration of a flu shot.

If the patient has experienced no other “triggers” other than a vaccine for the flu, DT, DTaP, or other reason, then a connection may exist between the shot and the onset of GBS.

If a connection can be shown between a vaccine and the development of GBS, that person may be able to assert their rights in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The Court of Federal Claims handles vaccine claims and permits U.S. citizens to seek monetary compensation after suffering a vaccine injury. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, in conjunction with the Court of Federal Claims, provides people with the opportunity for redress on behalf of themselves or a family member that suffered a vaccine-related injury.

Those who suffered Guillain-Barré Syndrome after receiving a vaccine may be able to request compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering

Most viable petitions result in settlements that provide victims of a vaccine-related injury with fair compensation and attorney’s fees in many instances.

Due to the complex nature of this system, however, and its reliance on Federal courts and procedures, an individual considering a vaccine claim should take caution before starting a petition on their own.

An attorney with years of practice in this area and familiarity with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and the United States Court of Federal Claims can provide valuable counsel and save you additional pain and frustration.

The Vaccine Injury Attorneys at Green & Schafle Can Help if You or a Loved One Suffered Guillain-Barré Syndrome after a Flu Shot or Other Vaccine

Our legal team at Green & Schafle knows about the rare but serious connection between Guillain-Barré Syndrome and immunizations. We can investigate the facts of your case, including symptoms and timing of the vaccine shot. If you or a family member have suffered from GBS and believe vaccine administration may have caused it, please contact our Philadelphia vaccine injury attorneys for a consultation.

Resources:

uscfc.uscourts.gov/vaccine-programoffice-special-masters

ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Guillain-Barr%C3%A9-Syndrome-Fact-Sheet

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