Flu vaccine leads to $11.6 million government settlement for paralyzed former nurse

Share this article:

A former nurse will receive an $11.6 million government settlement to pay for future care after a flu vaccination left her paralyzed. The news could fuel another round of debate about whether vaccines should be mandated for staff in long-term care and other health fields.

Sarah Behie, 24, received the flu vaccination in October 2010 while working at Lehigh Valley Hospital, according to the Allentown Morning Call. Three weeks later, she experienced weakness and tingling in her limbs. She subsequently was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome — a neuromuscular disease in which the immune system attacks the nervous system.

Since then, she has been in the care of hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. She reportedly has lost the use of her legs and can barely use her upper body.

Lehigh Valley Hospital did not require its employees to receive a flu vaccine at the time Behie became ill, although it is required now, a hospital spokesman told McKnight's. The hospital's vaccine mandate was implemented in 2011 and took full effect in 2012. The hospital network was not a party in the legal action resulting in the settlement, the spokesman noted.

The $11 million settlement was reached through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, the Morning Call reported Tuesday.

Share this article:

More in News

Nursing home antipsychotic use has dipped nearly 19% under national effort, latest figures show

Nursing home antipsychotic use has dipped nearly 19% ...

The percent of long-stay nursing home residents receiving antipsychotic medication has decreased 18.8% under a nationwide initiative that started in 2012, according to the most recent quarterly figures from the ...

Jimmo succeeds in getting Medicare coverage, two years after landmark case ended

Glenda Jimmo has reached a settlement with the federal government and will finally receive Medicare coverage for claims that were denied in 2007, which led her to file a class-action lawsuit over the so-called "improvement standard."

Also in the news for Oct. 31, 2014 . . .

Minnix hopes White House aging conference will spur 'huge shift' ... CMS finalizes home health payment reductions ... Dementia is now No. 1 killer of women in England