July 30, 2021, Lakeland, Florida - - Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman attorneys have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a young Florida woman whose ambitions were derailed by severe health problems she alleges were caused by the Gardasil human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
Ruby Silver of Lakeland, Florida had dreams of earning multiple professional degrees and pursuing a career as a geneticist. After receiving a perfect score on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test at the age of 12, she was on a fast track to achieving her goals. But those dreams were dashed due to serious and unrelenting health issues after receiving the Gardasil vaccine.
Ruby’s attorneys Bijan Esfandiari, Michael L. Baum, Monique Alarcon, and co-counsel Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. filed the Gardasil lawsuit against Merck & Co., Inc. and subsidiary Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp, both of New Jersey.
The lawsuit alleges Gardasil contains “dangerous and undisclosed ingredients,” including HPV L1-DNA fragments and phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PMSF). According to the complaint, HPV L1-DNA fragments make the vaccine “more potent and dangerous than intended,” and phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride is a “toxic nerve agent that is not intended for human consumption or injection.”
Gardasil also contains amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate (AAHS), a neurotoxin linked to a host of serious health issues that Ruby now suffers from. With these added ingredients—both disclosed and undisclosed—Gardasil is “defective and unreasonably dangerous,” the lawsuit alleges.
“If Merck was honest with doctors and parents about what is in Gardasil and what risks those ingredients carry, no one would allow young children and teens to receive the vaccine,” says attorney Michael Baum. “But as we learned years ago with the Vioxx scandal, in my view, Merck does not seem interested in honesty and transparency but more interested in their bottom line.”
Lawsuit Alleges Gardasil Contains Undisclosed and Dangerous Ingredients Linked to POTS and Other Health Issues
According to the lawsuit, Gardasil contains several known adjuvants, ingredients used in some vaccines to create a stronger immune response. Per the complaint, Gardasil’s known adjuvants include:
Amorphous Aluminum Hydroxyphosphate Sulfate (AAHS): A proprietary blend of aluminum and other unknown ingredients that has never been proven safe. Aluminum is a neurotoxin capable of causing serious harm.
Polysorbate 80: Opens up the blood-brain barrier to allow active ingredients to reach the brain and to elicit the intended response. It acts as an emulsifier for molecules like AAHS and aluminum, enabling those molecules to pass through resistive cell membranes. We do not know its safety profile is because it has never been tested for safety independently in vaccines.
Sodium Borate: Also known as borax, sodium borate is banned in food products by U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Genetically Modified Yeast: Studies have linked yeast with autoimmune conditions. There is no safety data on yeast in vaccines.
L-Histidine: An amino acid. Like genetically modified yeast, there is no safety data on L-Histidine in vaccines.
According to the complaint, during the clinical trials for Gardasil, Merck did not use a true control group receiving a saline solution placebo. Instead, control group members received a shot containing “the carrier solution” – a witch’s brew of toxic substances including polysorbate 80, sodium borate (borax), genetically modified yeast, L-histidine, and possibly the fragmented DNA adjuvant. Using the carrier solution instead of a saline solution allowed Merck to demonstrate a safety profile for Gardasil that masked side effects when comparing the vaccinated group to the “control” group, the lawsuit alleges.
Merck’s conduct, described in the complaint as “blatant scientific fraud,” continues to this day because current vaccine safety and long-term efficacy assurances are based on this manipulated study.
Gardasil Lawsuit Seeks Punitive Damages
Ruby Silver was just 12 years old when she received her first and only injection of the Gardasil HPV vaccine. Before Gardasil, Ruby was a happy and healthy young girl who excelled both physically and academically. An avid softball player, Ruby made All-Star teams and competed against older girls. In July of 2013—just weeks before she received the Gardasil injection—she received a perfect FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) score and was awarded a certificate from the Governor of Florida. Less than 1% of students in the state receive a perfect score on the FCAT.
Ruby’s mother, Valerie Silver, consented to allow her daughter to receive the HPV vaccine on August 21, 2013 because she believed Merck’s ubiquitous and aggressive marketing maintaining that Gardasil was “safe” and “effective.” Everything changed after that doctor’s office visit.
Soon after Ruby received the Gardasil shot, she developed swelling at the injection site, followed by symptoms of shortness of breath and nausea that persisted throughout the week. She was often sent home because she became pale and needed to lie down.
In November of 2013, Ruby returned to the doctor’s office multiple times due to symptoms of nausea, headaches, fatigue, and other issues. The doctor ordered CT head scans. The results were normal.
In January of 2014, Ruby was hospitalized for dizziness and persistent nausea. On the way to the emergency room, she was pale and her eyes were rolling back in her head. Her symptoms persisted and interfered with her ability to attend school.
Ruby again visited the hospital in May of 2014 for severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. When doctors discovered that Ruby had gallstones and she underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, she was relieved because she believed the diagnosis and treatment would finally solve the problems she had. Her symptoms, however, did not improve. In fact, Ruby’s symptoms only got worse over time.
Multiple physicians and specialists treated her for numerous health issues, which now included:
- Orthostatic intolerance
- Chronic headaches
- Dysautonomia symptoms, including orthostatic fainting
- Gastrointestinal motility
- Limb paresthesia
- Migratory joint pain
- Motor dysfunction
- Prolonged general fatigue
- Verbal dyspraxia
As a result of her post-Gardasil symptoms, Ruby was unable to participate in normal activities that a teenager would typically enjoy. She had trouble keeping up with classes and was forced to drop out of her private charter school. She tried to keep playing softball but could no longer keep up with the other girls on her team. As an overachiever for nearly all of her life, it was extremely difficult for Ruby to accept her post-Gardasil limitations.
Doctors diagnosed Ruby with serious and debilitating health issues, among others:
- Orthostatic intolerance (OI)
- Autonomic dysfunction
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
Her gastrointestinal issues were so severe that she required a gastric pacemaker/neurostimulator to control her chronic nausea. The system helps curb symptoms by stimulating the smooth muscles of the lower stomach.
The medical literature supports the link between Gardasil and Ruby’s debilitating health problems, including POTS, OI, gastroparesis, and others raised in this lawsuit. A 2020 peer-reviewed study that analyzed the available clinical trial data for all HPV vaccines found that HPV vaccines, including Gardasil, were associated with a nearly two-fold increased risk of POTS.
Growing up, Ruby saw herself graduating from a top-tier university before moving on to an MD-PhD dual degree program. She hoped to become a geneticist. Her symptoms simply would not allow it, however. Barely able to attend online college classes, Ruby was forced to recalibrate her life. While her current academic pursuit of double majoring in public relations, advertising and psychology at Florida Southern College is impressive, especially considering the adversity she has faced, Ruby still feels like the post-Gardasil injuries robbed her of the chance to pursue her dreams.
Valerie Silver filed a petition before the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) on her minor daughter’s behalf. A judgment was rendered around August of 2020, and Ruby, who is no longer a minor, filed her election not to accept the judgment and instead file a lawsuit against Merck in civil court. Through this civil action, Ruby seeks to hold Merck accountable for its alleged negligent, reckless, and fraudulent conduct. Her lawsuit includes claims for punitive damages for Merck’s alleged false promotion of Gardasil and its failure to issue appropriate warnings concerning the severe risks of Gardasil.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to study medicine and become a doctor. I believed that pharmaceutical companies were truly interested in advancing science to help people. After what’s happened to me and so many others, I don’t know if I believe that anymore,” says Ruby. “And just because I have filed this lawsuit does not mean I am ‘anti-vax.’ Clearly, I got the shot, all of my other shots and the Covid vaccine. But my dreams are shattered, and I have lost my quality of life because of Gardasil, and I want Merck exposed and held liable for what they have done.”
About Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman
Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman is one of the country’s leading law firms pursuing Gardasil lawsuits against Merck. The firm’s award-winning attorneys have decades of experience holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for putting profit over the health of consumers. Across all areas of practice, the firm has won more than $4 billion in verdicts and settlements for clients.
Our Gardasil attorneys have filed lawsuits against Merck on behalf of several young adults throughout the country who developed POTS and other serious injuries after the HPV vaccine:
Abby Stratton of South Carolina
With all of the controversy surrounding vaccines, our firm wants to stress that we are not against vaccines. Vaccines have the potential to eradicate disease and save millions of lives. However, our firm is against intentional efforts to mislead consumers about the safety and effectiveness of a drug or vaccine. Our attorneys have always fought for the rights of consumers to be fully and honestly informed about risks associated with any consumer product, including drugs, vaccines, or medical devices. We will work tirelessly to ensure those rights are defended and victims of injustice are compensated for their injuries.