A U.S. District Court judge yesterday awarded $152,248 in damages to a Clinton woman for illnesses she suffered as a result of a swine flu vaccination she received in December 1976.
Barbara A. Marsden, 42, who at the time was a $7,000-a-year secretary for the American Automobile Association, suffered effects of the Guillain-Barre syndrome shortly after she received a swine flu injection at the Prince George's health department as part of the federal government's nationwide inoculation program.
According to court records. Marsden suffered weakened muscles on one side of her face, loss of strength in her legs, a burning sensation in her feet and extreme itchiness. Despite therapy, Marsden contended in court records that she still must use a cane and a brace on one leg to walk.
In a 22-page opinion, Judge Oliver Gasch ruled that Marsden suffered some permanent injury as a result of the vaccine, which will reduce her ability to work in the future. Marsden left her job after she became ill four years ago and has not worked since, according to court records.
Gasch's award to Marsden included payment for medical bills, lost earnings and compensation for pain and suffering that resulted from the effects of the vaccination.
The government did not contest Marsden's claim that her illness was caused by the vaccine, but argued only the question of the amount of damages to be paid.
More than 3,900 damage claims totaling $2.8 billion have been filed against the government following the swine flu vaccination campaign, which was eventually suspended after widespread complaints of side effects.
Marsden's was the fifth case in which a court has awarded damages. Total damages in the previous four cases amounted to $702,000, according to Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Axelrad.
Another 279 cases have been settled out of court by the government for a total of $11 million, Axelrad said.