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25144 TH NSL Winter 07_LRCaitlyn Hoiberg was a healthy, happy 19-month-old little girl who was quick on her feet, loved to talk, and had an infectious smile. However, within days of receiving her DTaP vaccination, Caitlyn could no longer walk or talk, and was semi-paralyzed in her left arm. What happened?

Sadly, Caitlyn was yet another tragic example of how a vaccine can severely damage a child. Although vaccines help many, in some cases they can cause serious injury. It is for this reason the federal government created the National Vaccine Injury Court in Washington, DC, in 1986. However, only a handful of attorneys nationwide are licensed to practice law in this highly specialized federal court. Luckily for the Hoiberg family, Alan M. Pickert of Terrell Hogan is one of those attorneys.

“We were so fortunate to find Alan to handle our case,” the Hoibergs said. “Without him and his incredible efforts, we would have never found justice for Cate.”

Pickert, who has received statewide recognition for his legal abilities by being selected as one of Florida’s Legal Elite and Florida Super Lawyer by two different magazines, filed the lawsuit. The suit alleged that Caitlyn had an adverse reaction to the DTaP vaccine, resulting in seizures and swelling of the brain called encephalopathy. After several years of intense litigation, the federal judge agreed with Alan and awarded financial compensation to the Hoiberg family for Caitlyn’s past and future medical care, pain and suffering, and future wage loss.

“We are forever indebted to Alan for all that he has done for us,” the Hoibergs are quick to say. “Because of him, our daughter will now be able to get the therapy and medical care she needs for the rest of her life and be financially secure.”

Don’t wait — educate yourself about vaccines before your child starts to receive his or her vaccinations.

• Ask your pediatrician questions about the benefits and dangers of vaccines.

• There are different schedules of vaccine shots that your child can receive — don’t think that one schedule fits all children.

• Inquire about testing your child’s immune system and genetics prior to the vaccinations being administered.

• If your child is injured by a vaccine, you must file a claim in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program within three years of the onset of the first symptoms.