Today I’m launching an initiative to educate our communities. Following JnJ’s winning verdict yesterday in Ms. Carol Cavness vs. JnJ’s Prosima mesh, I feel it’s imperative that we unite and take action to educate our communities.
I gathered from the reporting and conversations with our community’s “boots on the ground,” that the jury was confused by legalese and terminology, a practice often deliberately used by defense teams to confuse jurors. I wish I could give you first-handle knowledge, but I was not able to attend the trial. However patient advocates, who were in attendance, told me that on Friday, the jury seemed to understand the specifics they were to deliberate; but by Monday, something had changed. The question sent out of the deliberation room on Monday gives us a hint that the jury was confused about foundational definitions like, “Proximate Cause.” Judge Molberg of the 95th district court in Dallas, Texas, reminded the jury in a written statement:
“Proximate cause means a cause which was a substantial factor in bringing about an injury and without such cause the injury would not have occurred. In order to be a proximate cause, the act or omission complained of must be such that a medical device manufacturing company using ordinary care would have foreseen the injury or some similar injury might reasonably result there from.
There may be more than one proximate cause of an injury.
Ordinary Care means the degree of care a medical device manufacturing company or ordinary prudence would use under same or similar circumstances.
If you have answered either question one or two you should redeliberate using the definition I have given you in the supplemental charge because it is a proper legal definition. It is the only answer I can give you at this time.”
Many of us can attest to mesh injury by Proximate Cause – again, meaning a substantial factor in bringing about an injury and without such cause the injury would not have occurred. It seems simple to understand that, had Ms. Cavness NOT RECEIVED the JnJ Prosima mesh implant, subsequently she would not have been injured by it.
In defense of the jury, these trials are exceedingly technical in nature, as companies defend each product in relation to other very similar products, in an effort to prove that “this mesh” (in this case, the Prosima mesh) was better than any of JnJ’s predecessor mesh products, or that other, safer solutions for her condition, were not available at the time of her implant. Pore size, tensile strength, laser cut vs. mechanically cut mesh – all of this terminology can be overwhelming to learn about in a 2-week trial, as is required of jurors.
Often, the trial is set on-course to be won by one side or the other during the juror-selection process. Jury selection is a joint effort involving the plaintiff’s counsel, the defense council, and the judge. The stated goal is to select jurors who are unbiased towards either the plaintiff or defense. Unfortunately, this process often results in the selection of jurors who actually have less knowledge or education than the average American about the very concepts that will be discussed during trial. One could easily conclude that the selection of jurors who have less knowledge about concepts to be discussed during trial could be a significant bias in itself – in favor of the defense. I don’t know if that is what happened in this case. I just know that the jury asked a very foundational question well into the deliberation process, which arguably, means they may not have understood other foundational concepts well.
My point is: These trials will continue, and we need to do what we can do – what we are able – to do. WE CAN EDUCATE OUR COMMUNITIES. That is something JnJ is doing every single day through advertising, public relations and directly to patients in exam rooms using implanting physicians, who often are not aware of the severe and permanent nature of adverse events resulting from polypropylene mesh implant.
Or this research article on implant of permanent polyethylene materials:
Or this research about characteristics of polypropylene in abdominal repairs using mesh:
Do you think your urologist, urogynecologist or ob/gyn is a regular reader of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research? I suggest you ask him/her, and bring the research with you to your appointment on your #TMWF USB Medical Bracelet.
Courtesy of Dave deBronkart (@ePatientDave), and his study and subsequent article titled,“17 years for new medical practices to be adopted,” I learned at #MedX 2015 that widely-accepted research by the scientific community, TAKES AN AVERAGE OF 17 YEARS FOR HALF OF DOCTORS to adopt as a treatment option available to their patients! That is unacceptable. That is, in fact, terrifying news.
We simply don’t have that much time.
We can shorten this timeline by educating ourselves, our families, our friends and our neighbors – and yes, even our physicians.
You may already be making a huge impact, just by telling your story to another person – while waiting in line for a prescription, or at the grocery store, or maybe while on an airplane, or in the waiting room at your doctor’s office. Keep up the good work! It matters! It really does make a difference.
CASE IN POINT: Last year, I shared my family’s story with a Stanford University employee whose mother-in-law was in the process of speaking with doctors about mesh implant. Because of that one conversation, a year later, I met that man’s wife at #MedX 2015. I learned that, because of one conversation, and a daughter’s commitment and courage to educate herself; her mother is today healthy, happy, and MESH FREE! She is exercising and enjoying life at a whole new level. We will never know what the outcome of mesh implant would have been; we just know that education changed the course of one family’s decision. And because of that, their matriarch is not injured, not worried about the other adverse events of mesh implant, not destined to become disabled by polypropylene mesh.
If the media won’t educate the public; and the FDA will not remove this harmful device from the market, then WE MUST EDUCATE OUR FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS until the threshold of pressure causes the media, the FDA and/or the general population to take notice of this predatory behavior by the healthcare industry and device manufactures and the medical atrocity that will come to define a generation of families.
Who’s with me?