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Family sues after teen dies after HPV vaccination

Written by: Valerie Gonthier, QMI Agency
Jan. 31, 2012

MONTREAL — The family of a Quebec teen who died after taking a common vaccine is suing pharmaceutical giant Merck Frosst, three doctors and a clinic for $197,000.

Annabelle Morin's body was found in a bathtub in her family's suburban Laval home on Dec. 9, 2008. The lawsuit says she had taken two doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine — used to prevent cervical cancer in women.

Linda Morin found her daughter in the tub.

"This image will stay in my head for the rest of my life," Morin told QMI Agency. "It's a nightmare. We often say that time heals things (but) time hasn't healed anything yet."

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Annabelle, 14, was among an initial group of youngsters who received a free Gardasil vaccination under a program introduced by Quebec in September 2008.

She received a first dose at a clinic in October 2008 and her mother said she vomited, became confused and incoherent and was unable to speak or walk.

She went to hospital, was diagnosed with a migraine and was discharged.

Annabelle received a second dose of Gardasil at her school on Nov. 24, 2008, and fell ill a second time, the lawsuit says.

Two weeks later she was found unconscious in the bathtub. She was pronounced dead in hospital.

The lawsuit says pediatrician Guylaine Larose, neurologist Amelie Nadeau and Annabelle's family doctor, Lynne Nadeau, were negligent in their treatment.

Linda Morin says she was never advised that Gardasil can have side-effects.

A coroner could not establish a direct link between the vaccination and Annabelle's death.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven in court.

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