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

Post-acute standardized assessment bill passes House

Post-acute standardized assessment bill passes House

A bill that would standardize data in post-acute settings moved closer to reality after a House of Representatives voice vote in its favor Tuesday. The House's approval of the Improving ...

ACA hasn't created more part-time workers, analysis says

Despite fears to the contrary, there's no evidence that the Affordable Care Act increased part-time work before 2014, according to a new analysis.

Also in the News for Sept. 18, 2014

Arkansas' charity protection statute could protect nursing home in lawsuit... Institute of Medicine releases end-of-life report ...Congressional roundtable group says Medicare telehealth rules need to be updated