Barbara Mellers’ daughter, Jenny, 15, passed away in March 2009. Is Gardasil to blame?
Jenny Tetlock was a 15-year-old girl who lost her battle to a rapidly degenerative neurological disease on March 15, 2009. She started developing symptoms just two months after her final Gardasil injection. Her mom, Barbara, shares her story with momlogic.
ML: What kind of child was Jenny? Please describe your daughter, prior to her getting sick.
Barbara: Jenny was very active. She played soccer for many years. She enjoyed school. She liked English, science, and struggled a bit with math. She had some friends her own age. Jenny was raised essentially as an only child, because her half-brother is 16 years older than she. She hung around with us a lot and learned to enjoy and relate to grown-ups. One of the most charming things about her was how well she could connect with people of many ages.
ML: When and why did Jenny get the Gardasil vaccine?
Barbara: We had come back from a sabbatical year in New York, and Jenny needed a Hepatitis B vaccine to get registered for school. Her pediatrician mentioned this new vaccine. He said it was good, and recommended we give it to Jenny. Without much thought, I agreed, and we started the 3 vaccinations. Jenny was 12 when she received her first vaccine. That was September 2006. The second was in November 2006, and the third was in March 2007. In May 2007, she began to weaken. She died 20 months later.
ML: When did Jenny start showing symptoms or signs that something was wrong?
Barbara: In May 2007, Jenny came home from school one day having tripped over a hurdle in P.E. class. It was 1 and a half feet high. All the other kids cleared it easily. A few days later, she tripped again on the same hurdle and fell on her knee. She hurt it badly, and stayed home for a few days. Then she developed a limp that never went away. With some degenerative neurological diseases, you can lose as much as 40% of your motor neurons before you even begin to show weakness. That may have happened to Jenny.
We thought it would get better, but when it didn’t, we went back to her pediatrician. We thought, perhaps her legs were different lengths. But no, the doctor said things were fine and gave her strengthening exercises. A month or two went by and we didn’t see any improvement. The pediatrician suggested sports therapy. We went to Children’s Hospital in Oakland and started several months of physical therapy in August 2007.