Story submitted by her parents
Marie–Océane’s parents, Jean-Jacques and Yveline Bourguignon, granted permission for their daughter’s story to be published hoping they can help people realize there are potential risks involved with HPV vaccinations. They do not want anyone else to go through what they have experienced without knowing of the possibility in advance.
Jean-Jacques and Yveline say Océane was a girl full of joy, health, and laughter before her 15th birthday. They affectionately called her their ‘little pearl’. She never had to visit the doctor for an illness. That is until her life was turned upside-down because of trust. This is her story.
Océane was 15 years old when she went to her family doctor to get a medical certificate for dancing with a friend. The doctor suggested Gardasil for cervical cancer prevention. Her parents trusted their family doctor and consented to the vaccination. They did not realize this decision would set off a chain of events that would make Dante’s Inferno look like a picnic.
In 2010, Marie-Océane Bourguignon received two injections of Gardasil; the first on October 11th and the second on December 13th. Two weeks after the first injection, she experienced sensory and motor problems in her upper limbs before spontaneously and gradually regressing over a two week period. Her parents thought the tingling in her arms and loss of balance were simply a normal part of adolescence.
Two months later, after the second injection, she vomited and suffered from severe dizziness. Three months after the second injection, on the 13th of March 2011, Marie–Océane was hospitalized at Centre Hospitalier de Dax for deterioration in her general health, cerebral-vestibular disturbances and sensory-motor impairment (ataxia-an inability to coordinate voluntary muscular movements, and vertigo).
On March 15, 2011, an MRI of her brain revealed lesions in the white matter. The year 2011 was a descent into hell for Océane’s parents. They spent their time traveling from home to hospital and back. Océane’s attacks were devastating. She could appear to be in good health in the evening before bed and be vomiting as soon as she woke up the next morning. Her parents didn’t know from one day to the next what new symptom they would have to help Océane deal with.
One stroke had left her in a wheelchair without vision or hearing due to the acute encephalomyelitis.
For two years, Océane could not attend school. Wheelchairs, facial paralysis, dizziness and great fatigue kept her home.
Fortunately, she had friends to support her during the time she was suffering from so many new medical conditions.
Her mother had to quit her job to be with Océane during her time of need. Yveline refused to leave her daughter alone when she was in such a physical and moral state. Océane’s mother and father lived in constant fear of losing their ‘precious pearl’.
The doctors initially thought Marie was suffering from either multiple sclerosis or acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). After multiple subsequent hospitalizations, it was determined that she had developed multiple sclerosis, a chronic, typically progressive disease involving damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord with symptoms including numbness, impairment of speech and muscular coordination, blurred vision, and severe fatigue. Marie-Océane will live with this condition for the rest of her life. There is no known cure.
In spite of all this, her parents feel lucky. Despite the fact her doctors hesitated to make a firm diagnosis for two years, they concluded the encephalomyelitis was a result of the HPV vaccinations. Since the temporal association between Océane’s symptoms and Gardasil were quickly brought to light by her doctors, Marie’s parents avoided the medical wandering many French parents have been forced to endure when their daughters exhibited new medical conditions after Gardasil. The second bonus for Marie’s family was her doctors made a statement to pharmacovigilance regarding their assessment of the reasons for Marie’s symptoms.
During the two years, doctors were trying to decide on a final diagnosis for Marie, her parents requested an expert opinion from the Regional Commission for Medical Accidents in Aquitaine. They concluded that the pathology was consistent with a vaccine injury but that because her father (age 50) had type 2 diabetes, there was possibly an underlying genetic susceptibility.
Consequently, her parents filed for compensation on her behalf with CRCI, Regional Medical Injury Arbitration and Compensation Tribunal in Bordeaux on January 28, 2012.
In Bordeaux, on September 18, 2013, Judge Patrick Mairé handed down a decision stating Gardasil was 50% responsible for the permanent injury of this French teenager who had received two injections of the HPV vaccine. The other 50% was attributed to a genetic predisposition for autoimmune disorders. (Judge Mairé presides over lawsuits filed with a regional branch of the CRCI in France, which is the equivalent of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) court in the United States.)
Sanofi, which sells Gardasil on behalf of Merck in Europe had to make a compensation proposal. They did not accept accountability for the injury despite the first judgment and the reports of two medical experts. They remained in denial and alluded to the arrogance of the family for daring to claim their daughter’s condition was a vaccine injury. Sanofi’s settlement agreement even attempted to pass the parents off as anti-vaccine.
Even so, the Bourguignon family had been successful. They could have accepted the compensation award and gone on to try and rebuild their lives.
But this family knew they were not the only ones to have had their lives turned upside down after using the HPV vaccine, Gardasil. They knew the decision by CRCI would not be widely publicized in order to warn other families about the potential risks involved with the use of HPV vaccines. In short, they knew accepting the compensation would benefit no one other than their own family.
Consequently, they decided to turn down the award and take their case to a traditional criminal court where the outcome of the adjudication could be made public. They decided a just decision for their family was simply not good enough. They wanted justice for all victims of adverse events after Gardasil. They wanted to have the opportunity to warn others about the potential risks involved with consenting to the use of HPV vaccines. They wanted the opportunity to make the public aware of the fact that HPV vaccines can be quite dangerous for some individuals.
The Bourguignon family knew there were more than 700 families in France who also had daughters suffering from serious new medical conditions after the administration of Gardasil (source: Agence Nationale Sécurité Médicament in France), but believed the health authorities hid it and minimized it with the complicity of the laboratories.
Faced with this injustice, they decided to mediate the case. In November 2013, their attorney, Mr. Coubris, filed a criminal complaint against Sanofi Pasteur and the French Medicines Agency on behalf of their family and 50 other families like theirs.
In November 2015, they discovered this complaint had been buried by the Paris public prosecutor’s office who stated there was no direct link between Gardasil and the pathologies of the nervous system experienced by the girls represented in Mr. Coubris’ complaint. This was done without consulting any of the 50 families who had joined the Bourguignon family in their criminal complaint.
None of the families involved could believe the accountability of the vaccine had been established and the case closed without their knowledge or an opportunity to be heard.
Attorney Coubris immediately filed an appeal and the families decided to also file a civil proceeding with the Dean of Investigating Judges in Paris. They want the truth about this vaccine to be made public. The families have vowed to fight to the end. They will accept nothing less than completely honest and open scientific debates. To accomplish this they have enlisted the assistance of several independent associations to help facilitate symposiums on the subject within the medical/scientific community regardless of what the courts decide.
Today, Marie–Océane is still fighting to rebuild her life. At 20, she could not pursue her chosen career in architecture. At 22 years old, she passed a pastry chef’s CAP and wants to create her own business selling artisan pastries and local products. Her parents hope she has her future in front of her, but they realize it’s not going to be easy.
She is still young, despite losing her teenage years. She will always be chronically ill and unable to work for a boss. In order to have a future, Marie will have to be her own boss so she can work at her own pace. Her parents will be behind her to help.
The Bourguignon family continues to fight not only for their daughter but for all the other French families who are still suffering. They fight for the parents who have lost their children. They fight to help French families obtain justice for the sacrifices they have had to make simply because they trusted their doctors’ advice.
Information on the ongoing legal battle:
After a judgment in our favor on the Crci de Bordeaux and an imputability following the Gardasil, we filed a criminal complaint on the Paris court against Sanofi and the drug agency with the help of master Coubris de Bordeaux, in November 2013.
This procedure was followed by about 50 families and complaints.
After two years, without investigation, because the families were not even auditioned, a prosecutor of the health pole of Paris closed the file.
We then re-lodged a new criminal complaint through the senior judge to benefit from an investigation and a judge of instruction nome.
We were summoned only once by this judge in Paris. We feel that nobody wants to open this folder and this Pandora’s Box.
In February 2018 a new complaint was filed, this time to the civil court Dax asking for damages from the laboratory Sanofi.
This complaint is still under investigation. We are waiting for a convocation with the judge of Dax.
This last issue is based on the two expert witness reports we had in 2012 and 2012 on the Bordeaux CrC case.