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 did not warn worker who was taken hostage in active ...

A nurse at a Life Care Centers of America facility in Colorado was not notified that she would be threatened and taken hostage by a gunman as part of an active shooter drill, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Revisions to False Claims Act urged by former deputy AG

A panel of witnesses debated the merits of the False Claims Act before a Judiciary subcommittee meeting Wednesday, with one former attorney general arguing current policy provokes unfair litigation and "coercive" settlements.

Medicare SNF rate finalized, reimbursements to increase by $750 million next year

Medicare SNF rate finalized, reimbursements to increase by ...

Medicare skilled nursing facility reimbursements will increase by $750 million next year under a final payment rule announced Thursday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.