Where is the FREE PRESS in the WORLDWIDE MESH MESS?

I had intentions to start the New Year off with a blog I wrote titled, “Why I am the Grinch Who Stole Your New Year’s Resolution,” but with the abrupt ending of a two and a half week trial involving the Budke Family v. Johnson & Johnson, I thought better of it.

This trial in Camden County, Missouri has been brought by the remaining family members of Mrs. Joan Budke, a wife, mother and grandmother who tragically passed away from a pulmonary emboli less than a year after implant with Johnson and Johnson’s Prolift mesh. Her demise over nine months or so is a difficult reality, including months of infection, hospital stays, ER visits, and worst of all, missed opportunities to save this women’s life at many stages in her treatment.

What is still astounding to me is that there is no press in the courtroom! The Mesh Warrior Foundation was able to fund a freelance journalist to cover two weeks of the trial, and for that I am grateful. But shouldn’t we all be asking ourselves, “Where is our country’s fourth branch of government – The American “Free Press?” No local press, no news cameras, no national news outlets were there to cover the trial.  Johnson and Johnson, a corporation we know as “a family company” from their big-budget advertising received what some would call favorable rulings during key moments in this trial, the first of its kind, involving the death of the plaintiff.

Here are some examples of facts the jury was not allowed to hear, per the presiding judge in this case:

  1. The jury could not know that JnJ faces approximately 60,000 other trials in the federal court system’s multidistrict litigation in West Virginia, presided over by Judge Joseph Goodwin. Many of these cases involve the very same device, JnJ’s Prolift.
  2. The jury could not be made aware that JnJ has been ordered by the DOJ to engage in post-market surveillance of its products, which have killed more than one patient.
  3. The jury could not be made aware of the fast-track clearance gained by the Prolift device from the FDA, a process which failed to identify that the “predicate device” made by another company was the device used as the basis for clearance of the Prolift, but that the predicate device was recalled under mandate of the FDA, before the Prolift was ever sold.
  4. The jury could not be informed that the Prolift was taken off the market by JnJ itself for “business reasons” but that JnJ continues to sell similar mesh products.
  5. And just this past Monday (Jan. 19) the judge ruled that the jury would be PREVENTED from awarding punitive damages, if the company were to be found guilty of marketing a defective product to Mrs. Budke.

How can anyone make a solid judgment without all the facts, juror or not?

When a non-profit organization has to pay for journalism, there is a problem with our  so-called “Free” Press! Where were they? With approximately thousands of individual cases and counting piling up in the Federal MDL under Judge Joseph Goodwin, wouldn’t someone in the press be curious, perhaps “60-Minutes” or “Dateline?” Where is “Dr. Oz?” Where is “Oprah?”

The Prolift polypropylene mesh is just one of Johnson and Johnson’s mesh products. Many more manufacturers, including JnJ, continue to manufacture similar devices.  The Prolift device was one of the first of its kind on the market, and since its introduction to the market, many more manufactures have followed suit, and there are now dozens of similar products made by almost a dozen different manufacturers, including JnJ. These devices  torture and maim millions of people, and there is no national press hot on the trail! I find that very odd to say the least.

We have no choice but to be our own Free Press. So please, if you or someone you love is affected by transvaginal mesh; tweet about it, blog it, pin it, update your status, comment on the medical articles you see or the business articles you read about JnJ and other medical device manufacturers. We must find a way to elevate this American tragedy.

Please join us in our efforts to get the preventable harm of transvaginal mesh elevated to the status of ever-vigilant scrutiny by our media. You pay for your newspapers, magazines and television programs. You pay the businesses who advertise in these media.  Advertisements to your eyes are the main source of revenue for all of these forms of entertainment. Right now, it’s my opinion that these entities do not appear to be working together to benefit us – YOU – their consumer, their reader, their constituent. I’m sure you vote with your pen by casting your ballot, but you must also vote by broadcasting your voice when you see wrong being done by these entities. You must also cast your vote with your dollar. If you see a company doing something you disagree with, it’s within your power to refuse to give them you hard-earned money. Don’t buy their products.

You can help today by joining our Facebook page, “The Mesh Warrior” or our joining our foundation’s page at www.tmwfoundation.org, both platforms which can lend decibels to your voice.

The Budke family deserves to have the NATIONAL MEDIA recognize their mother’s sacrifice and the daily sacrifice of many others affected by transvaginal mesh.

With Mrs. Budke’s trial, abruptly ceased after two and a half weeks following a significant ruling by the judge, I’m not optimistic that the national media will be interested in digging into the facts of yet another trial ending in settlement. Without a jury’s verdict, there is little hope for media interest. My hope is that her family knows that their mother’s death was not in vain, and that her legacy did not end. For many of us, her life as a brave woman who lived and died with mesh will help our families, still suffering, to watch for life-threatening symptoms in our own loved ones.

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