Didn't know which thread to use, but anyway, Gary, IN Gardasil, BTW, Riley Childrens Hospital is considered one of the best in the world.http://www.post-trib.com/news/davich/1818703,gardasil-davich-1011.article
Family: Vaccine left teen in 'fight for life'
October 11, 2009
BY JERRY DAVICH, POST-TRIBUNE METRO COLUMNISTZeda Pingel was a bright, popular and healthy teenage girl until her pediatrician administered a vaccine last November
during a routine checkup.Today, the 14-year-old Lake Station girl is imprisoned in a body that has suffered a series of life-threatening reactions to the vaccine called Gardasil, her family insists.
"Before she was given the vaccine, she was a straight-A student
who loved talking on the phone, playing paintball
, and just being a teenager," said her mother, Amy Pingel. "Now look at her
."Zeda spends every day in a hospital bed
in the family's living room, surrounded by medical equipment, get-well cards and a crucifix on the wall.She is mostly unresponsive, although it's a marked improvement from just a couple months ago when she showed no signs of being functional, let alone interactive. She receives round-the-clock care, daily visits from a nurse, and her slightest twitch or facial movement is heralded as a breakthrough.
"Yet to this day not one doctor will go on the record saying that Gardasil did this to my daughter," said Pingel, a single mother of four who has had to quit her job to take care of Zeda. "And I don't think they ever will."
Gardasil is billed as the only cervical cancer vaccine to help protect females against four types of human papilloma virus, or HPV. Those four types comprise more than two-thirds of all cervical cancer cases.Each year, roughly 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and nearly 4,000 women die in this country
, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To counter those numbers, 26 million doses of Gardasil have been distributed in this country
since its launch in 2006.
According to federal and global health officials, repeated studies have found "no serious side effects" with Gardasil, and federal agencies continue to support the vaccine's safety and effectiveness.
This includes the American Cancer Society, which recommends routine HPV vaccinations -- "to potentially prevent the majority of cases and deaths of cervical cancer" -- for females ages 11 to 12 and "catch up" vaccinations for females ages 13 to 18.Zeda was given the first of a planned series of three Gardasil shots on Nov. 5, 2008, at North Shore Health Centers in Portage. She never got to that second shot, let alone the third.
When Zeda's only Gardasil shot was administered the doctor advised Zeda's mother that the girl may have a headache, slight dizziness or possible swelling at the injection site, but nothing more.
Within days, she showed signs of abnormal behavior, including constant headaches, lightheadedness and mental confusion to the point of not being able to text-message her friends.On Nov. 29, Zeda suffered a massive seizure and was rushed to the hospital where she couldn't speak, eat or drink. In the emergency room, she was tested for alcohol and drugs, which came back negative.
"Doctors thought she may be faking it for attention," her mother said. "She was always a drama queen, but nothing like this."
One hospital even installed a video recorder in her room to "catch her faking," Amy said.
But this was no drama-queen performance.
"Over the next few days, Zeda began the fight for her life," explained her aunt, Charity Savage. "We knew something was terribly wrong."
Zeda was later airlifted to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis and placed on life support
. She stayed in the pediatric ICU for two months undergoing countless tests
but no definitive diagnosis.One test revealed a shadow on the left side of her brain, described to the family as encephalitis, attacking her immune and nervous systems.
After minimal improvement, Zeda was released on Feb. 6 only to return there three days later in an ambulance with a high temperature and dangerously low blood pressure. She was given 72 hours to live
"We didn't think she would make it," her mother said.
But she did. She was released March 31, still with no written diagnosis or treatment plan.
"We were told only verbally by doctors that this was a vaccine reaction
," Savage said. "It was disregarded as if unrelated."
"We were told to keep her comfortable and wait for improvement," Amy said. "That's it. No others answers."
Officials at North Shore Health Centers and the Riley Hospital for Children refused comment, citing patient privacy restrictions. For input from Gardasil's maker, Merck, see sidebar.
Today, Zeda is at home, bedridden, still on a feeding tube
, and taking the tiniest of baby steps to survive.
"She can move some of her fingers. Other than that, we've only gotten a few smiles here and there,
" her aunt said.
Zeda continues to receive physical and occupational therapy - covered by taxpayer dollars through Medicaid - a painful and belabored daily ritual in the hope she will someday be able to walk, talk, and, well, be a teenager again.
"She will turn her head toward you when you talk to her, which lets us know she can hear us. This is an improvement given the fact that only a couple months ago she was completely unresponsive," Savage said.
Results from an EEG show Zeda no longer has seizure activity, but not one test has provided a cause to her illness.
"We have yet to get a prognosis for her condition," Savage said.
Still, Zeda's amazing family, siblings and all, continues to keep the faith for her recovery, even as she remains imprisoned in her own wilting body.
"If I knew this was a possible side effect, I would never have let my daughter get this shot
," Amy said angrily.
Thousands of parents across Northwest Indiana may face the same decision for their daughter, or someday for their son.In Zeda's name, make sure you do your homework before you decide