An Oklahoma woman who said she was blinded after being vaccinated for the swine flu filed yesterday a $6.25 million suit in federal court against four vaccine makers, bringing to $19 million the damages sought in the suits filed in connection with national vaccinations.
The suit by Emily A. Spruell, 64, of Clayton, Okla., was filed by the law firm of Stipe, Gossett, Stipe and Harper of Oklahoma City, which has handled two other lawsuits seeking $11.5 million in behalf of two Oklahomans vaccinated against the swine flu. One is dead, the other paralyzed from the neck down.
In her suit, Spruell said she was vaccinated in a Clayton clinic Oct. 26 and was stricken on Dec. 15 with paralysis of her limbs and worsening eyesight. She said she now has no vision in her left eye and minimal vision in her right eye.
Named defendants in the suit were Wyeth Laboratories, Inc., of Philadelphia; Parke-Davis & Co. of Detroit; Merck Sharpe & Dohme of West Point, Pa., and Merrell-National of Cincinnati. All four vaccine producers were named in the suit because no record has been found yet to show whose vaccine Spruell received.
The same manufacturers were named in the two other Oklahoma suits, one for $6 million in behalf of George Leonard Baker, who died in a hospital last month after being paralyzed for three weeks. The suit said Baker received the vaccine in October.
A third suit has been filed for $5.4 million in behalf of Wayne Young, who was vaccinated Nov. 5 in a McAlester, Okla., clinic. The suit said he was stricken Nov. 21 with paralysis from the neck down, which the suit said was dignosed as Guillain-Barre syndrome.
The Public Health Service last month suspended the swine flu vaccination program after a growing number of people being vaccinated showed up with Guillian-Barre paralysis.
Besides the Oklahoma suits, the Justice Department has now received claims for three wrongful deaths and 61 for damages in connection with the swine flu vaccinations. One suits asks for $1.1 million in the case of a woman who died in Philadephia, another for $1000,000 for a man who died in Flushing, N. Y.
The 61 damage claims mostly run between $300 and $400 and ask comoensation for lost time on the flu shets. The smallest claim came from a woman who asked $9.50 for a blouse she said was ruined by the aceotne used to cleanse her arm preparation for the shet.
The Justice Department receives the claims because the federal governmemmt guaranteed no liability to the four vaccine makers in any malpractice suits brought against them under a law Congress enacted.