Story submitted by her Mother
Megan has always been a very healthy child. There were no problems during my pregnancy or her birth. She developed through life as expected and never had any illness apart from the odd cold. Megan was a very active child. She especially enjoyed dance – ballet, tap dancing and jazz – all of which she had done since she was three years old. She attended classes five times a week and was even on pointe in ballet. Her talent was not limited to dance. She also excelled at school. She was in top classes for all of her subjects and projected to gain A or A* GCSE grades. Megan also had a very large circle of friends – all until she had her HPV vaccine.
Megan’s problems started on December 10th, 2010, days after receiving the second dose of Cervarix. She developed an egg-shaped lump on her right hand which swelled very quickly and spread up her forearm. She was taken to Colchester General Hospital with suspected cellulitis.
After a few days of intravenous antibiotic, she was discharged, only to return about a week later. She did not respond to antibiotics. After she developed painful swelling around her hips and right ankle that put her in a wheelchair, an opinion from a Rheumatologist was sought. He thought her symptoms were due to reactive Synovitis/Erythema Nodosum. At this point, Megan began to get lesions erupting and settling all over her body.
After weeks of treatment with steroids and no improvement, she was referred to Norfolk and Norwich Hospital under Dr. Kate Armon. She was kept in and underwent various tests, scans, x-rays, blood tests, and biopsies – all of which showed nothing. She remained in the hospital for a rehabilitation programme and only allowed home on weekends. She regained some movement in her feet, to the point where she could now walk on crutches. No formal diagnosis was made. The swelling kept recurring even while in the hospital’s care.
Despite this, we were accused of harming Megan or that she was doing it to herself. One of her blood tests had showed up positive for hepatitis b, so the whole family had to have blood tests to rule out the possibility of abuse. This was a very traumatic time for the entire family. When all of the blood tests returned negative, and Megan’s original test was ruled a false-positive, no apology was offered.
In March of 2012, we were told they could not tell us what was wrong with Megan. It was suggested that we, as parents, should ‘draw a line in the sand,’ stop trying to find any underlying reason for her illness and ‘let her live her life.’ It was also suggested that maybe we should consult a psychologist, as she was showing signs of depression.
Megan did see a Psychologist at Colchester Hospital, but she never picked up on how depressed Megan was actually becoming.
We went back to our GP to ask for some more help, as Megan’s physical well-being was still not improving. Our GP received help from a Professor in Lincolnshire who thought it could possibly be Capillary Leak Syndrome. We were asked to try Megan on some Terbutaline and Aminophylline, but her blood was not absorbing the medication. A therapeutic level was never reached.
Eventually, Megan had a complete breakdown. She is now clinically depressed and seeing a Child Psychiatrist. She has been prescribed anti-depressants.
We are now trying to seek medical advice as to why Megan’s blood was not absorbing the medication. We have asked for a referral to Professor Goldblatt at Great Ormond Street, a consultant Pediatric Immunologist. Perhaps he can help.
Megan is now moving into the third year of a life turned upside-down after having Cervarix. Her health is suffering. Her education has suffered by not being physically able to attend school for most of the last two years. She has no social life left. She has withdrawn from anything she ever enjoyed in life.
Our entire family has lost all trust in medical professionals. No one has seemed to listen when we mentioned how a perfectly healthy child became so ill only days after having the second dose of Cervarix.
For our family, the risks of HPV vaccination have far outweighed any potential benefit.