Sixty-one-year-old Dominick Tenuto, a former Wall Street executive who contracted polio 30 years ago while changing his baby daughter’s diaper after she had been given an oral polio vaccine, has been awarded $22.5 million by a New York jury in a lawsuit against Lederle Laboratories, the vaccine’s producer.
In court, Tenuto’s attorneys claimed that the live vaccine had passed through the baby girl’s system into her diapers to infect Tenuto, causing him to become paralyzed and spend months on a hospital ventilator in intensive care. After years of rehabilitation, he has remained partially paralyzed and wheelchair bound. He also lost his job on Wall Street because his building was not wheelchair accessible.
Tenuto sued Lederle two years after contracting polio, and has been waiting nearly 30 years for a verdict.
The jury found Lederle Laboratories, makers of the oral polio vaccine Orimune, responsible for Tenuto’s injuries for having manufactured an unreasonably dangerous product. It also found that the company failed to warn doctors about risks associated with the vaccine’s use. Lederle plans to appeal the verdict in appellate court.