Family blames vaccine for daughter's death
Wed, 08 Aug 2012 3:02p.m.
By Laura McQuillan
The family of an Upper Hutt teenager who died in her sleep in 2009 have told a coroner's inquest they are convinced a vaccine intended to prevent cervical cancer was responsible for her death.
Jasmine Nicole Renata, 18, was found dead in her bed at home on September 22, 2009.
She had received the last of three injections of the Gardasil vaccine, which protects against human papillomavirus (HPV), six months earlier.
On Tuesday, her mother, Rhonda Renata, told an inquest before Coroner Ian Smith in Wellington that she believes the vaccine caused her daughter's death.
Miss Renata had been fit and healthy with no medical conditions, but after her first Gardasil injection in 2008 she suffered warts on her hands, bleeding gums, dizziness and nausea, a racing heart and her hair was falling out, her mother said.
She also suffered chest pains and headaches, and became tired and agitated.
The only other medication Miss Renata took was the Depo-Provera contraceptive injection, which she had received since age 14.
The nurse who administered Miss Renata's Gardasil injections, Patricia Ryan, said she had not reported any side-effects in her visits to her clinic.
Capital and Coast District Health Board clinical geneticist Dr Katherine Neas told the inquest Miss Renata's symptoms pointed toward her suffering a congenital heart problem.
Testing for one genetic abnormality had ruled out that condition, but Miss Renata's family had so far refused to be tested for other conditions which could help find the cause of her death, or discount other causes, Dr Neas said.
Mrs Renata rejected the suggestion her daughter died from a heart problem as there was no family history of heart problems.
"The only one who's not here is my daughter and she's the only one who took Gardasil."
Medsafe group manager Dr Stewart Jessamine said it was unlikely Miss Renata's symptoms were caused by Gardasil, and Depo-Provera was a more likely cause.
Miss Renata's family also had concerns about the aluminium content of the vaccine. However, Dr Jessamine said she would have received "minimal" levels of aluminium from the vaccine, which would have subsided four to six weeks after each injection.
Mrs Renata had been in touch with health experts in the United States and Canada, who would give evidence via video link about their views on Miss Renata's death on Thursday.
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