A young man was recently awarded compensation in the United States Court of Federal Claims Vaccine Court, for injuries he sustained after being administered the hepatitis A and varicella vaccinations in 2009.
After five long years of litigation, Health and Human Services (HHS), the Respondent in all vaccine injury cases, conceded that the varicella vaccination did in fact cause RD’s vaccine injury, transverse myelitis, which has left him a tetraplegic.
In November 2014, HHS conceded that the vaccination caused RD’s injuries. Even with this concession, his case continued for another year in the damages phase, during which time the parties continued to negotiate the amount of damages that RD would receive for his injuries. Although he was compensated for his suffering and injuries, the monetary award will never compensate for the lifelong effects this young man is suffering from his vaccine injury.
Five Long Years
RD was only 13 when his life changed forever. At a routine well-child visit in 2009, the doctor informed RD’s parents that he was due to receive the hepatitis A and varicella vaccinations. His parents complied with the doctor’s order and RD received the vaccinations.
RD’s mother explained that, at that time in RD’s state, only one dose of varicella vaccine was required and RD had already received one dose of that vaccine. This second dose that was administered to RD at this well visit was determined to be the cause of RD’s horrific injuries, and it was not even required for him, which his family didn’t realize until it was too late.
About 14 days later, RD began to experience excruciating pain shooting through his body along with tingling, numbness and paralysis of his limbs. After extensive testing and many invasive procedures, RD was diagnosed with transverse myelitis.
RD’s parents filed a case in Vaccine Court, which took over five years to settle. RD and his family faced arduous heartbreak along the way. In the ruling, a representative from the United States Department of Justice agreed that “a preponderance of the evidence establishes that petitioner’s transverse myelitis was caused-in-fact by the administration of his August 12, 2009 varicella vaccine.”
RD’s lawyer, Patricia Finn, stated that:
“The injuries that RD suffered from this vaccine are severe and lifelong. Even though he has received a significant award as far as the awards in the Vaccine Court go, no amount of money will ever compensate him for what he has lost.
But RD is an amazing young man who has not let this injury stop him in any way. He has graduated high school with his class, attends a Tier 1 college, and has great aspirations that I know he will achieve despite the challenges he faces because of his injuries.”
RD’s Immune System Attacked His Spine
Transverse myelitis is a rare, immune-mediated syndrome in which the spinal cord becomes inflamed. At the onset of transverse myelitis, immune cells mistakenly invade the body, specifically attacking the spinal cord, often damaging the protective myelin coating. 
The syndrome was extremely rare until the 1920s, when hundreds of cases were diagnosed following administration of rabies and smallpox vaccines. Later research revealed that transverse myelitis is a post-infectious disorder.
According to Mayo Clinic, vaccines are a primary cause of transverse myelitis, and doctors are trained to ask patients who are seeking treatment if they have recently been vaccinated. Hepatitis B vaccines, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines, and diphtheria-tetanus (Tdap) vaccines have been implicated in causing cases of transverse myelitis. 
The onset of symptoms is commonly sudden and severe. Many people who develop transverse myelitis initially notice frightening symptoms, including pain, often in their neck or back, which is what happened to RD.
They may also experience shooting sensations radiating through their arms, legs, and abdomen; abnormal sensations, including numbness, burning, coldness, tingling, tightness of the skin, and over sensitivity to touch and temperature; weakness in arms and legs; stumbling; paralysis; bladder and bowel problems, including incontinence and constipation.
RD experienced many of these symptoms as his immune system attacked his own body. source