Defibrillators Recalled by Stryker

The Stryker company is recalling thousands of defibrillators due to a malfunction of the device.  The US FDA reported that Stryker’s LIFEPAK 15 device may lock up after delivering a defibrillation shock.  The company said the malfunction may delay delivery of therapy, which can cause serious injury or death.

58 Complaints, 6 Deaths

Since 2009, nearly 60 complaints have been reported to the FDA over the Stryker device.  At least six people have reportedly died from the machine’s malfunction.  According to the FDA, Stryker is “instructing customers to continue to use their (device) according to the operating instructions until the correction can be completed.”

Stryker Recalls LIFEPAK 15 Defibrillator

Stryker itself said the six deaths appear to be related to the defibrillator’s lockup malfunction.   The company said it has become aware that certain LIFEPAK 15 Monitor/Defibrillators have been reported to experience a lock-up condition after a defibrillation shock was delivered. This condition is defined as a blank monitor display with LED lights on, which indicates power to the device, but no corresponding response in the keypad and device functions.

Stryker is contacting people affected by the recall and pledging to fix the problem.  The company says that if the device “exhibits the lockup condition during patient use, the steps from the General Troubleshooting Section (page 10) of the (device) should be immediately followed.”

More than 13,000 devices are potentially impacted by the recall.  Stryker is advising patients to continue using their LIFEPAK 15 devices as usual until the company can fix the problem.

Defibrillators are common throughout the civilized world.  The paddle-fitted, electrical devices are used to shock and revive people whose hearts have suddenly stopped beating. The National Institutes of Health explains that these devices are meant to “restore a normal heartbeat by sending an electric pulse or shock to the heart.  They are used to prevent or correct an arrhythmia, a heartbeat that is uneven, or that is too slow, or too fast.  Defibrillators can also restore the heart’s beating if the heart suddenly stops.

Heart experts at Johns Hopkins claim that at least 522 lives can be saved yearly in the U.S. and Canada by the widespread placement of automated external defibrillators. There is general consensus in the medical community that defibrillators are helpful devices when they are properly designed and used, and are functioning properly.

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Sexual Abuse of Nuns Stuns Catholics (again)

(Feb. 5, 2019)  As if the Catholic Church and its Pope were not busy enough apologizing for the sexual abuse of minors by predatory priests, it now has a terrible new problem on its busy hands:  the sexual exploitation of nuns stuns faithful Catholics all over again.  A Reuters story broke today regarding the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops.  Some of those trusted men had used the women as sex slaves.

Empowered by the worldwide #MeToo movement which began with the outing of Hollywood-power players like Hurricane Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, several nuns have stepped forward to relate their tales of woe at the hands of men who took advantage of their positions in the Catholic church hierarchy to abuse the women who had been taught to respect them.

Pope Francis told Reuters yesterday that he was committed to stopping the abuse of nuns by said priests and bishops.  The pope made his comments on a plane returning from Abu Dhabi after a reporter questioned him over a Vatican monthly magazine story published last week about nuns being abused in the Catholic Church.

Union Urges Nuns to Come Forward

More and more nuns are now coming forward to describe sexual abuse by priests and bishops. The International Union of Superiors General, which represents more than 500,000 Catholic nuns, last year urged their members to report abuse.

Pope Francis told Reuters: “It is true … There have been priests and even bishops who have done this. I think it is still going on because something does not stop just because you have become aware of it.”

The pope acknowledged the church has been working on the sexual abuse of nuns problem “for a long time” and had suspended several priests because of it. He added that the Vatican was in the process of shutting down a (still unnamed) female religious order because of sexual abuse and corruption.

“I can’t say, ‘This does not happen in my house.’  It is true.  Do we have to do more? Yes.  Are we willing? Yes,” he said.

Nuns in Sexual Slavery

Former Pope Benedict dissolved a religious order of women shortly after his election as pontiff in 2005, Pope Francis told Reuters: “[B]ecause slavery had become part of it [the religious order], even sexual slavery on the part of priests and the founder.”  Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said that sad situation had occurred in France.

Church Politics Delays Justice

As with the recent cases of sexual abuse by priests recently uncovered in Pennsylvania, New York (where victims recently received a legal reprieve), and elsewhere, internal church politics allowed some abusive priests to continue their duplicitous deceptions against nuns in the church.

Before becoming the pope, Benedict was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican department that investigates sexual abuse. The pope at that time was John Paul.  Then-cardinal Ratzinger wanted to investigate the religious order where women were being abused, but he was blocked, Francis said, by someone or some people he would not identify.  Francis told Reuters that after Ratzinger became the pope, he reopened the investigation and then dissolved the order.

Pope Summons Bishops for Sex Abuse Summit

Pope Francis has summoned key bishops from around the world to a February summit at the Vatican over the Catholic church’s problem of clergy members committing sexual abuse. The pope is seeking a unified response to this ages-old, worldwide problem.

Reporters asked the pope if he would  also propose a similar action to confront abuse of nuns in the Church.  “I want to move forward,” Pope Francis replied.  “We are working on it.”

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IVC Filter Maker Cook hit with $3 Million Verdict

(Feb. 9, 2019) — An Cook Blood Clot Filter LawsuitsIVC filter company, Cook Medical, was hit with a $3 million verdict on Feb. 1 by an Indianapolis jury.  The jury returned their verdict just before midnight Friday.  They ruled that the Cook filter placed inside the plaintiff was defective.

Cook Celect Filter Trial

The case involved a 51-year-old dental hygienist whose Cook Celect inferior vena blood clot filter fractured and migrated in her body, eventually poking through her thigh and requiring open laparotomy surgery to remove.

Surgeons placed the controversial filter – which is alleged to trap blood clots – into the woman’s inferior vena cava March 2009 during lumbar spine surgery.  She complained in the next few months about hip pain, severe abdominal pain, and pain and swelling.

A CT scan in June 2011 showed her IVC filter had fractured in a prevertebral location abutting the anterior aspect of the L2-3 disc space and upper L3 vertebral body.  A follow up visit found  a “palpable mass” in the skin under her right leg.  The next day the woman pulled a 2-inch long metal object from her right thigh.  That object was part of the filter which had fractured inside of her vena cava and migrated.

In July 2010, surgeons attempted to remove the broken IVC filter but were unsuccessful.  Then, finally in October 2015, surgeons were able to remove what was left of the filter device.

Texas State Court Loss was Cook’s first

The troublesome filter in the Indianapolis trial concerned Cook’s “Celect,” which was also the subject of a jury trial and a subsequent verdict against Cook last Spring in Texas.

In May 2018, a state court jury awarded a Houston-area firefighter $1.2 million for a defective Cook Celect blood clot filter.  The case was similar in that the person implanted with the filter required open laparotomy surgery to have it removed.  And like the woman in this latest case, the plaintiff had it removed because it had migrated to where he feared it working like a “ticking time bomb” in his chest.

In the only other Cook IVC case to go to trial, an Indianapolis jury denied a woman’s claim for damages in summer 2017.  But in that case – a defense pick for trial – surgeons had been able to successfully remove the filter without resorting to open laparotomy surgery.

IVC Filter Problems

IVC filters have proven troublesome because even though they are often used as medical devices in the hopes that they will prevent DVTs, much evidence suggests that they don’t pass a risk-benefit analysis which is the gold standard of any medical device treatment.  Much evidence suggests that they have become accepted despite lacking evidence of being worth their risks.

IVC Filters give no benefit for Trauma Patients

Even though they are often used in trauma patients without the patients’ consent, there is no evidence that they offer trauma patients any benefit and are worth their risks.

No Long-term Benefits

Evidence has also shown that the longer removable IVC filters remain inside a patient’s vena cava, the more likely they are to cause problems.

In addition, evidence suggests that IVC filters don’t protect the patient from developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) as well as their makers claim they do, while at the same time they can cause other problems which one who opts not to have a filter installed would not otherwise experience.

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Priest Sex Abuse Numbers & Timeline

(Jan. 31, 2019)  The priest sex abuse crisis that has plagued the Catholic Church for decades continues.  Despite numerous apologies from the Pope on down, and pledges to do better, the Catholic Church has consistently shown an inability to police itself.  We see in one child sex abuse story after another how church officials not only fail to prosecute or even dismiss abusers, but hide and coddle them instead.  Instead of being dismissed – at the least, or sent to jail, as they should be – many abusers are sent by their “superiors” to other parishes where they are set free to assault the children of other unwitting parishioners.

How can such devious actions by the church not result in clergy abuse lawsuits?  What other recourse is available to the trusting victims of predatory priests and their underhanded enablers?

Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report

The shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report released this past summer (with its 1,000 victims, 300 credibly accused priests) has made more churchgoers than ever more conscious of their church’s failures to protect the children in their charge.  The sheer numbers related in that report have sent many people into a crisis of faith  – if not in their spirituality, at least in the church itself.  Many have, as a result, ceased to attend their church.  The sheer numbers for many are simply  too large to dismiss.  The clergy sex abuse numbers not only don’t lie; they are decidedly shy of the reality.  Every expert on the subject recognizes that the stigma of sharing child sex abuse stories leads most people to suffer quietly alone.

Law Changes Help Victims

But all that may be changing.  As the public discussion of the unspeakable broadens, more and more people are coming to terms with their prior abuse, including lawmakers who this week helped change law in New York to give the abused longer periods of time in which to file a claim.  The result is helping to remove some of the stigma attached to a person’s sharing his or her own story of sex abuse.

Priest Sex Abuse by the Numbers

  • Money paid out by the Catholic Church to sex abuse victims: $3 Billion
  • Number of priests credibly accused of abuse: 6,800
  • Survivors of Priest Sex Abuse: At least 19,000

The Catholic Church Compensates Victims

The Catholic Church has faced  priest sex abuse allegations for decades worldwide.  An analysis by BishopAccountability.org, finds that the church has paid out more than $3 billion to victims.

The same organization has found that more than 6,800 U.S. Catholic priests have been credibly accused of sexual abuse in the U.S., and at least 19,000 people still alive have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a U.S. Catholic priest.

Most recently, in Houston, Texas this week, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and other Texas dioceses are expected to release lists of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children today.

KHOU in Houston presents a look back at the long-running crisis:

1947

The Servants of the Paraclete opens in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, as a treatment center for priests accused of molesting children.

1984

Rev. Gilbert Gauthe, a priest in the Diocese of Lafayette, La., is indicted on 34 counts of sex crimes against children.  According to 60 Minutes, he is the first priest in the U.S. to face a criminal trial for child sex abuse. He pleads guilty in 1986 and is sentenced to 20 years in prison.

June 1985

Rev. Thomas Doyle and Gauthe’s attorney, Ray Mouton, release a report, “The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy: Meeting the Problem in a Comprehensive and Responsible Manner.”  It warns bishops about predatory priests and outlines how sex abuse allegations should be handled. Doyle says church leaders dismissed the report.

July 1997

A Dallas jury awards a landmark $119 million judgment against the Catholic Church  to 11 clergy sex abuse survivors. The victims’ attorney says, “I hope this wakes up the Pope.”

June 2001

The Diocese of Tucson is the first religious order to release a list of accused priests.

January 2002

The Boston Globe runs a groundbreaking story of how the church allowed a known molester priest to transfer in and out of parishes rather than remove him.  (See the movie “Spotlight.”)

June 2002

After meeting in Dallas, Texas, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops establishes the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” commonly known as the Dallas Charter. It calls for zero tolerance for priests who sexually abuse children. It fails to address Catholic bishops who cover up cases or allow abusive priests to continue.

2005

The Diocese of Fort Worth becomes Texas’s first to release a list of credibly accused priests.

2006

In his book, “Sex, Priests and Secret Codes,” Rev. Tom Doyle traces the history of clergy sexual abuse of children to A.D. 98, the same century the church was founded.

March 2009

New Hampshire names 27 priests accused of abuse following the attorney general’s five-year audit of the Diocese of Manchester.

March 2011

The Associated Press reports the Catholic Church fails to monitor former priests who have been accused of sexually abusing children.

July 2014

Pope Francis meets with clergy sex abuse survivors and promises “zero tolerance” for priests who abuse children.

September 2015

The movie “Spotlight” is released. The award-winning film follows The Boston Globe’s investigative Spotlight team as it shows how the Catholic Church hides priest sex abuse scandals.

August 2018

In a two-year inquiry into clergy sex abuse, a Pennsylvania grand jury releases a report which concludes that 300 Catholic priests sexually abused 1,000 child victims over seven decades.

October 2018

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, overseer of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, calls for more church accountability and transparency.

DiNardo announces all Texas dioceses will release a list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors by the end of January 2019.

November 2018

The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office searches the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Chancery and secret archives for documents containing information on sexual abuse by Rev. Manuel La Rosa-Lopez. He is charged with four counts of indecency with a child.

During its search, the DA’s office said it found other documents relating to sex abuse. Those documents, the DA’s office said, were turned over to the Texas Rangers for investigation.

December 2018

Pope Francis calls for all priests who have raped and molested children to turn themselves in. He  promises the church will never again cover up clergy sex abuse.

December 2018

The Illinois Attorney General releases preliminary findings in an investigation that reveals the state’s six dioceses failed to disclose sex abuse allegations against 500 additional priests and clergy members.

January 2019

U.S. Catholic bishops gather in Illinois for a weeklong retreat of prayer and reflection related to the clergy sex abuse crisis.

January 2019

KHOU 11 Investigates releases “Unforgivable,” a 30-minute documentary detailing the clergy sex abuse crisis and its impacts on survivors, their families and the work by an attorney and a priest to make a difference.

Jan. 31, 2019

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and other Texas dioceses are expected to release lists today of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

February 2019

The world’s Catholic bishops are scheduled to gather in the Vatican with the pope to discuss preventing priest sex abuse.

And so the problem and the discussion continues.  Clearly, some progress has been made for victims, but there is a long way to go, as so many continue to suffer in silence.

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Victims of Child Sex Abuse receive Reprieve

(January 28, 2019)  Victims of child sex abuse received a legal reprieve from New York lawmakers this week.  On Monday the state government in Albany voted to allow people a longer grace period in which to file their claims of being sexually abused as children.  The Child Victims Act gives victims of child sex abuse until age 55 to bring a civil lawsuit, up from the current age of 23.  The bill also offers other legal changes that help extend the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse.*

The new law comes after more than 15 years of political in-fighting, with most of the opposition coming from Republican senators.  Gov. Cuomo vowed to sign the bill, saying, “It’s taken us a number of years to get here, but we got here.”

Related:  Abuse by Clergy Lawsuit

The bill was driven, in part, by four state representatives who recently revealed their own childhood experiences of having been sexually abused by trusted elders.  The New York Daily News reported that during the debate on the House floor, “[F]our female lawmakers – new Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), and Assembly members Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan), Catalina Cruz (D-Queens), and Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Brooklyn) – recounted their own experiences of being sexually abused as kids.”

The Least We can do

Ms. Biaggi said she had remained silent for 25 years, which no doubt helped her to understand why it would take a person that long or longer to come to terms with abuse and share it with the world.  She said her abuse was, “something that I thought I would take to my grave.”

She also questioned: “Why on earth would anybody be opposed to this bill unless they have something to hide.  This is truly the least that we can do.”

Ms. Niou shook and cried as she recounted her abuse at age 13 by a teacher.

“I hope that people realize that this is not an attack on any institution, not attack on anybody else,” Ms. Nious said. “This is to protect victims. It’s to protect the children and it’s to help people feel a little whole again.”

Ms. Cruz said she was abused by a family member.  She thanked bill sponsors past and present for “never giving up in getting us justice.”

Ms. Bichotte recounted a story about being abused at age 10 by a pastor.  She said, “This bill is a must because it speaks to all the victims who were sexually abused as a child.  “The passing of this bill means a victory to them, a victory for me.”

The Child Victims Act Politics

Senate Republicans and some Assembly Democrats had previously blocked the bill.  It passed the Assembly for the third straight year this year, but with Democrats now in charge of the Senate, it cleared the upper house this time around.

The bill’s original sponsor was former Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, a Queens Democrat. Ms. Markey took grief for years from the Church and even from some fellow Assembly Democrats for her aggressive advocacy of the legislation.  The Catholic Church opposed it for years, as did Orthodox Jewish groups, the Boy Scouts of America, and insurance companies.

Democrats push Child Victims Act Through

Democrats decidedly pushed The Child Victims Act through.  After winning Senate control in the November elections, they prioritized passing it.

New Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said at a rally with victims and victims’ advocates before the vote:  “We say to the victims that we hear you, we are responding in the most responsible way, and we are really, really sorry it took so long. We really are.”

New York Daily News Crusade

Governor Cuomo and advocates praised the New York Daily News for making the bill a crusade the past three years.

“The twelve-year battle for the Child Victims Act has been arduous and sometimes provoked despair and disillusionment in the hearts of survivors and advocates,” said Stephen Jimenez, who was sexually abused at his Catholic school in Brooklyn. “But, at the end of the day, the glaring light of truth and justice has triumphed.”

Mr. Jimenez, a Catholic and co-founder of New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, said the bill’s passage “means an end to shame, silence and invisibility in the face of institutional cover-up.”

What The Child Victims Act Means

*Sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), The Child Victims Act  gives victims of child sex abuse until their 55th birthday to bring a civil lawsuit, up from the current age of 23. The new bill also gives survivors until their 28th birthday to seek criminal felony charges and their 25th birthday to seek a misdemeanor case.

The bill also creates a one-year window to revive old cases time-barred under current law.  It will also treat public and private institutions the same when it comes to child sex abuse. Under current law, someone abused in a public institution like a school can only sue if they file a notice of claim within 90 days of the attack.

130-3 Vote for New Bill

The bill flew through the Senate with minimal debate and passed by a unanimous vote.  It  passed the Assembly 130-3.

The state Catholic Conference dropped its years-long long opposition to the bill for reasons given by its spokesman Dennis Poust:  “We did not oppose the final version of the Child Victims Act precisely because it treats all survivors equally, including those abused in public schools. We hope this legislation gives all survivors the opportunity to be heard and compensated, wherever they were abused.”

Statute of Limitations Fights Continue

The Daily News reported that, “Some survivors, including Gary Greenberg, who created a political action committee to help flip the Senate so the Child Victims Act could pass, praised the new law even while saying they will push for future changes, including completely eliminating the criminal and civil statute of limitations on all child sex abuse cases.”

That fight will be ongoing in New York state, as it is ongoing in Pennsylvania and other states.  It was a grand jury report from Pennsylvania last summer which first focused the nation’s attention on the undeniable problem of an ongoing epidemic of child sex abuse by Catholic priests and other trusted clergy.

Related

Abuse by Clergy Lawsuit

•  Clergy Abuse Attorneys

•  Clergy Abuse Claims Bankrupt Catholic Dioceses

•   Victims of Child Sex Abuse receive Reprieve

•  Gay Lavender Mafia in the Catholic Church?

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Criminal Deceptions drive Drug Company Profits

Would you trust your life or the lives of your loved ones to known criminals?  Criminal deceptions drive drug company profits. Doctored studies, international bribery, deceptive marketing, outright lies, fraud, and kickbacks are the norm in the obscenely lucrative legal drug and vaccine business.  Big Pharma has been penalized with criminal fines from government far more than any other industry.  Drug companies are even dirtier, by comparison, than routine offenders such as “defense” contractors and oil companies like BP and Exxon.

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Big Pharma: Earth’s Most Corrupt Corporations

This is a hard fact on which your life may depend:  the pharmaceutical industry has the worst record of any industry for illegal violations of the law.  Drug companies make billions of dollars selling antidepressants and many other drugs that offer no demonstrable value but plenty of provable harm.  Here is a list of just a few bad Big Pharma actors and recent fines they’ve paid for their transgressions:

  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK):  nearly $8 billion in 31 settlements
  • Pfizer: nearly $4 billion in 31 settlements
  • Johnson & Johnson: more than $2.8 billion in 19 settlements
  • Merck:  nearly $2 billion in 30 settlements
  • Abbott:  more than $1.7 billion in 16 settlements
  • Eli Lilly: more than $1.4 billion in 15 settlements
  • Teva:  nearly $1.5 billion in 13 settlements
  • Schering-Plough:  more than $1.3 billion in 6 settlements
  • Novartis:  $1.25 billion in 20 settlements
  • Astra Zeneca:  more than $1 billion in 20 settlements

An Insider Exclusive Special reveals how:

  1. The Pharmaceutical Industry – generating $650 plus billion dollar a year  – has been the most profitable business in the U.S. by treating “disease” as an industry. It accounts for nearly 30 percent of the Gross Domestic product.
  2. Much of Big Pharma’s ‘success’ lies in the connections between the companies and the ‘symptoms management’ health care industry.  Encouraging symptoms and treating them pays; preventing diseases or symptoms does not pay.
  3. The medical establishment works closely with multinational drug companies focused first on profits.  Healthy people don’t add to profits.
  4. Lots of drugs MUST be sold. In order to achieve sales, anything goes: lies, fraud, kickbacks, ghostwritten medical “literature,” studies made with predetermined outcomes, you name it. Doctors function primarily as the principal salespeople of the drug companies, which is the way the entire scam was all set up more than 100 years ago, beginning with Rockefeller medicine’s Flexner Report published in 1910. This “Report” was used to effectively establish a monopoly on “healthcare”  that continues today.  Doctors who continue to promote Rockefeller medicine today are rewarded with research grants, gifts, and lavish perks.
  5. International bribery, corruption, and fraud run rampant in the testing of drugs. Criminal negligence exists in the unsafe manufacture of drugs, and not just in China.
  6. Many people don’t realize how drug companies are accused today of endangering public health through wide scale fraudulent marketing schemes. Drug company scams include covertly attempting to persuade consumers that they are ill. Drug companies also bribe doctors, and misrepresent safety test results on their products.

Today the drug industry continues to get away with deceptive “Off Label Marketing.”  Sadly, the American Medical Association (which was convicted of conspiracy to destroy its competition) and the FDA are complicit in allowing doctors to continue to prescribe drugs for “off label” purposes.  Because of this broken system, drug companies continue to get away with deceptive drug marketing.  After they pocket billions of dollars in profits for dangerous or worthless drugs, they then often pay only a small percentage of those billions in fines and settlements.

Medical-Pharmaceutical Complex

Make no mistake: there exists today a Medical-Pharmaceutical Complex that does not work for the long-term betterment of peoples’ health.  This Complex works instead for the short- and long-term goal of drug company profits.  Hence the billion-dollar fines, but it is hardly enough to fix the broken system rigged against the health and betterment of the individual.

The pharmaceutical industry has strayed from its original mission of discovering and manufacturing useful drugs – if that were ever its goal.  It has become, instead, a vast marketing monster with unprecedented control over our fortunes, which are inextricably tied up with the enormous amounts of insurance money we all are now required to pay regardless of how little we use the broken system.

Drug Companies control the Healthcare System

Drug companies now exercise nearly limitless influence over medical research, education, and the behavior of individual doctors. Those who don’t do what Big Pharma dictates that they do – prescribe dubious or dangerous drugs for marginal or even imaginary maladies encouraged by slick advertising campaigns – are ostracized from the medical profession and even driven out altogether.

Only in America can a drug company executive or lobbyist charged with a laundry list of morally repugnant behaviors – medical fraud, criminal salesmanship, gaming the insurance industries, lying to federal officials, manipulating the data of drugs that have killed people – get away with a fine, then receive a financial bonus while enjoying a surge in his company’s stock price after a settlement.  China fines and even executes individuals for such transgressions, but in America it’s all about financial rewards, as long as the criminal fines don’t exceed the profits.

“Alternative” Medicine Canard

It is a function of the dysfunction of our medical system that the AMA and the Medical-Pharmaceutical Complex has succeeded in calling any approach to health not sanctioned by the state “alternative” medicine.  That term is meant to function pejoratively to dismiss anything not sanctioned by the Complex as anti-scientific, but it is also a term which the medical monopoly has used to keep us all from exercising our God-given right to choose whatever therapy we would like.

It should be clear to anyone capable of thought that whatever one chooses is an “alternative.” Chemotherapy, for just one example, is only one “alternative,”  and not a very good one at that, failing 97% of those who consent to it.  But chemo is not called an “alternative” where insurance companies are concerned.  Insurance companies work hand in fist with the Complex to pay only for those drugs or therapies which Big Pharma and its D.C. lackeys dictate will be paid for.  This situation constitutes a medical insurance monopoly, but no mainstream publication will call it that, because the five outlets which own and operate our mainstream “news” are owned by the same multi-national conglomerates which own the drug companies and run the Medical-Pharmaceutical Complex.

Good News

The good news is that more and more people are waking up to the scam, to the medical monopoly controlled by the pharmaceutical industry.  Someday, we may even be able to retake our own rights to medical choice, have our insurance company pay for treatments that we choose, according to our own lights, instead of only those “choices” dictated to us by Big Pharma and the medical monopoly that still controls our broken “healthcare” system.

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Monsanto Propaganda misleads World

(Jan. 21, 2019)  Just as the CIA has been outed as running propaganda and disinformation campaigns against not only foreign powers but also against United States citizens (see Operation Mockingbird, which clearly continues today), Monsanto and other ag chemical industry giants have been shown to be running propaganda and disinformation campaigns about pesticides and GMOs.  The long-term goal (largely accomplished, given the abysmal health of most Americans) has been to not only confuse people about the actual dangers of pesticide-laced food,  but to also belittle and “neutralize” concerned citizens and scientists interested in the benefits of organic food and clean water untainted with genetically modified perversions and pesticides.

Related:  The Sinister Monsanto Group

Monsanto Covers its Tracks

Disgraced former US President Richard Nixon said it’s not the crime that gets you in trouble; it’s the coverup.  Monsanto executives must not have been paying attention.  Because while the company has paid millions of dollars for research studies purporting to prove the safety of products like Roundup, that money trail alone does not prove Roundup causes cancer of the type which a California jury awarded a California man $289 million in a verdict last summer.  What does appear to have influenced the jury, however, is the extraordinary lengths which it was shown during the trial that Monsanto has gone to in order to “disappear,” stifle, or coverup any and all evidence which might prove that Roundup causes cancer.  (See The Monsanto Papers.)

Rat Study Threatens Monsanto

When a famous ratsFrench scientist named Dr. Gilles-Eric Séralini performed a rat study which showed the rats developed hideous tumors following a diet of GMO maize (corn), his peer reviewed paper on the subject was published in a reputable science journal.  The study threatened the whole Monsanto GMO paradigm, and strongly suggested that further safety tests were warranted.  So Monsanto worked behind the scenes to have the offending publication hire a new editor, an editor who then pulled the damaging study.  Monsanto’s heavy-handed bullying in the case, however, caused an uproar in the scientific community, and led to the paper’s being re-reviewed by peers, and then re-published, in another journal which Monsanto hadn’t yet gripped in its long tentacles.

Monsanto EPA Ties Outed

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was considering a re-review of glyphosate safety, Monsanto was concerned.  So it worked behind the scenes with an actual EPA scientist, Jess Rowland, to quash the review.  Mr. Rowland’s fealty to Monsanto and the cozy relationship between regulator and regulated was revealed by emails between the two.  It was not the the kind of thing to give citizens confidence in their regulators, and it was not the kind of thing to give Monsanto credibility when its lawyers in the first Roundup cancer trial last summer claimed hundreds of studies proved glyphosate was safe.

Covert Industry Funding to Fake Objectivity

Covert industry funding of ostensibly “independent” scientists is a favorite Monsanto and Ag  Industry ploy to give the appearance of objectivity.  The problem for Monsanto and the industry is that time and again financial conflicts of interest have shown the world the lie.

Writing for U.S. Right to Know, Stacy Malkin has repeatedly shown how this ruse works.  One group Monsanto has attempted to use to show the purported safety of Roundup is called  “The Academics Review.”  This “Review” turns out to be nothing more than the innocuous sounding title of an industry-sponsored group pretending not to be an industry-sponsored group.

“Two Independent Professors” & The Usual Suspects

The Academics Review website claims “two independent professors,” started it:  Bruce Chassy, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and David Tribe, PhD, senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Australia.  Ms. Malkin noted that in May 2018, the website claimed, “Academics Review only accepts unrestricted donations from non-corporate sources to support our work.”

Meanwhile, tax records show a trade association to be the primary funder of Academics Review. The Council for Biotechnology Information was funded by the largest agrichemical companies: BASF, Bayer, DowDuPont, Monsanto and Syngenta.

Ms Malkan writes:  “According to CBI tax records, the industry-funded group gave Academics Review a total of $650,000 in 2014 and 2015-2016. Tax records for AcademicsReview.org report expenses of $791,064 from 2013-2016 (see 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016).  The money was spent on organizing conferences and promoting GMOs and pesticides, according to the tax records.”

Monsanto ghostwrites for Stanford Academic

Other ostensibly “objective” researchers include disgraced Stanford academic Henry I. Miller, whose propaganda attacking organic food was published by Fortune magazine, then pulled by Forbes from publication after public uproar proved Mr. Miller had simply signed his name to propaganda penned by Monsanto executives.

Reuters joins Monsanto Propaganda Effort

It was just revealed last week that Reuters news reporter Kate Kelland had apparently picked up Monsanto’s Operation Mockingbird mantel.  On January 16, 2019, documents filed in federal court threaten to expose Ms. Kelland for acting as a Monsanto’s mouthpiece.  She stands accused of driving a false narrative about cancer scientist Aaron Blair and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen in 2015.  The importance of that IARC declaration cannot be overstated, which is why it has been so important for Monsanto to try to neutralize the agency ever since and destroy its credibility.  That IARC some 9,300 cases.

Ms. Kelland wrote a controversial story in 2017 which she attributed to “court documents,” which now appear to have been fed to her by a Monsanto executive.  That Monsanto “newsmaker” also surreptitiously provided several key points Monsanto wanted Reuters to print. The documents Ms. Kelland cited were not filed in court, and were not publicly available at the time she wrote her IARC hit piece.   But presenting her story as “based on court documents” allowed her to avoid disclosing Monsanto’s crucial role in the story.

The Reuter’s story portrayed cancer scientist Aaron Blair as hiding “important information” that found no links between glyphosate and cancer  from IARC.  Ms. Kelland claimed that Blair, “said the data would have altered IARC’s analysis.”  However, a review of the full deposition shows that Mr. Blair did not say that.

Ms. Kelland provided no link to the documents she cited, which made it impossible for readers to see for themselves how far she veered from accuracy.

Operation Mockingbird in Full Swing

The CIA with Cord Myer in control of Operation Mockingbird couldn’t have done it any better. Ms. Kelland’s hit piece featuring Monsanto in the victim role was picked up by Monsanto-friendly media outlets around the world.  It was promoted by Monsanto and its chemical industry allies. Google advertisements were even purchased that promoted the story.

And now, reports Carey Gilliam for US Right to Know, new information revealed in court filings indicates just how heavy Monsanto’s hand was in pushing the false narrative.

Monsanto’s Fears change Trial Rules

So concerned is Monsanto with the evidence of its endless coverup and ongoing covert operations to influence public opinion and government regulators that it motioned this month to keep jurors from hearing ANY evidence of its coverups and its behind-the-scenes dealings unless and until the jury has first determined the question of causation.   The jury must first determine that Roundup caused the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma without hearing any evidence of Monsanto’s behind-the-scenes efforts to confuse the issues and neutralize evidence from those who have found Monsanto pesticides and GMOs lead to cancerous outcomes.

The problem – or at least the principal challenge – with this new two-part trial approach for the plaintiff’s side is that Monsanto has spent so much money to produce so many studies which attempt to prove the safety of glyphosate, that a jury could become lost, even overwhelmed, with the sheer volume of the paperwork produced by the Monsanto machine.  And will the plaintiff’s side be able to continue uncovering the latest Monsanto propaganda ploys, as they just uncovered the ruse orchestrated by Reuter’s “journalist” Kate Kelland?

Stay tuned. . .

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3M pays $9 Million for Soldiers’ Defective Earplugs

Earplugs Linked to Hearing Loss

(Jan. 7, 2019) The 3M company agreed to pay the U.S. government $9.1 Million last summer to settle a lawsuit over defective earplugs that allegedly caused our soldiers hearing loss and/or tinnitus. That sum included $1.9 Million for a whistleblower who said the company knew the plugs were defective.

Related:  Defective Earplug Lawsuit

Minnesota-based 3M made the earplugs for U. S. soldiers stationed mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003 to 2015.  The Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs (CAEv2) – now discontinued – were standard equipment for soldiers during those years.

Acting in good faith that the plugs would do what the company claimed, the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency distributed millions of dollars’ worth of them to thousands of service members, putting them at risk for permanent hearing loss or impairment.

The Defective CAEv2 Earplugs

The plugs featured a dual-ended design. They were meant to be used as either traditional earplugs, or they could be flipped over to provide normal hearing while protecting the wearer’s eardrums from gunfire noise and explosions.

The main complaint was that the earplugs were too short to be effectively inserted into a user’s ears. The too-short design led to the plugs gradually loosening in some ears, effectively rendering them useless to protect from hearing damage.

Whistleblower:  3M Knew Earplugs Defective

Though 3M has admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement, a whistleblower said 3M and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, knew about the plugs’ design problems as early as 2000.  The earplugs failed to pass safety tests then.

Defective Earplug Lawsuit

The defective earplug lawsuit’s allegations were issued under whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act.  That law allows private parties to sue on behalf of the U.S. government if they believe the lawsuit’s defendants submitted false claims for government funds. The law also allows whistleblowers to share in any funds recovered from a successful lawsuit.

As part of the defective earplug lawsuit resolution, the whistleblower will receive $1,911,000, according to the Department of Justice.

Legal Help for Soldiers with Hearing Loss

More than 2.6 million veterans are receiving disability compensation for hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears), according to the Veterans Administration (VA).

Our law firm is investigating defective earplug hearing loss lawsuits.   We are considering legal action for anyone who meets the following criteria:

  • Served in the military 2003-2015
  • Was issued earplugs during service
  • Suffers from permanent hearing loss or tinnitus

Contact Matthews & Associates for a free legal consultation in a potential defective earplug lawsuit. Our attorneys and legal assistants may be able to help you take legal action for your hearing loss.

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Judge limits Monsanto Trial Evidence

(Jan. 4, 2019)  A Monsanto Christmas wish was granted this week by a judge in the Roundup cancer litigation.  California Judge Vince Chhabria ruled for Monsanto in its lawyers’ requests that the jury in the next Roundup cancer trial not hear evidence of how Monsanto worked to influence regulators and manipulate public opinion.

Unlike the first trial – in which a jury awarded a $289 million verdict that stated Monsanto’s Roundup caused a California groundskeeper’s cancer – the judge ruled to split the second trial into two parts.  That decision could have far-reaching consequences for the entire Roundup litigation.

New Trial Arrangement favors Monsanto

In the new two-part trial arrangement, the plaintiff’s attorneys will first have to convince the jury that Roundup caused the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. They will need to do so without any reference to Monsanto’s now well-documented attempts to influence the EPA, other regulators, and the public at large.  Plaintiff’s attorneys will also not be able to show Monsanto’s secret funding of ostensibly “scientific” research projects that established outcomes which virtually always favored the company that funded them.

If – and only if – the plaintiff’s attorneys are able to convince the jury that Roundup caused the plaintiff’s lymphoma, will they then be able to reveal the full scope of Monsanto’s efforts to keep  the public from discovering that Roundup was not as safe as the company advertised.

If Roundup Were Safe

If Roundup were as safe as advertised, why would Monsanto be so concerned with manipulating public opinion?  Why would it spend countless hours and monies to attack or “neutralize” honest researchers like Giles Seralini?  If Roundup were safe, why would Monsanto feel the need to hire academic stooges like Berkeley’s Henry I. Miller to put his name on propaganda penned by Monsanto executives?  If Roundup were safe, why would Monsanto need to cajole and massage EPA employees like Jess Rowland to get them to do the company’s bidding and squelch honest inquiry into Roundup safety?

Scope of Ruling

Judge Chhabria’s Jan. 3 order applies to Edwin Hardeman’s case, which is scheduled for trial on Feb. 25.  The ruling also applies to two other bellwether trials which will help determine the range of damages and define settlement options for the rest of the 620 Roundup cases before Chhabria.

Mr. Hardeman’s lawyers contend that the exluded evidence, including internal Monsanto documents, show the company’s misconduct.  They believe that evidence was critical to an August 2018 California state court jury’s $289 million award in a similar case, though that verdict was later reduced to $78 million and is under appeal.

Under Judge Chhabria’s order, evidence of Monsanto’s alleged misconduct would be allowed only if glyphosate were found by the jury to have caused Mr. Hardeman’s cancer.   If that happens, the trial can proceed to a second phase to determine Monsanto’s (Bayer’s) liability.

Monsanto and Bayer face more than 9,300 U.S. lawsuits over Roundup’s safety in U.S. state and federal courts.

A Bayer statement welcomed the judge’s decision:  “The court’s decision to keep the focus of the trial on the extensive science relevant to human health is encouraging,” the company said.

The attorney for Mr. Hardeman said that even without the evidence of Monsanto’s influence peddling, she feels confident the jury will be able to understand that Roundup caused her client’s lymphoma.

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FDA warns Genetech over Stem Cell Contamination

Liveyon recalls all Genetech Products

(Jan. 2, 2019)  The FDA warned Genetech, Inc. and its president Edwin N. Pinos on Dec. 20, 2018 for marketing stem cell therapies without FDA approval.  The FDA warning letter said the company – based in San Diego, Calif. – also committed “significant deviations from current good tissue practice (CGTP) and current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) requirements, including some violations that may have led to microbial contamination, potentially causing serious blood infections in patients.”

The FDA letter said “Genetech processed umbilical cord blood into unapproved human cellular products” distributed by Liveyon, LLC.

Dangerous, Unapproved Stem Cell Products

The FDA warning also put other stem cell providers on notice.  It was pointedly titled:  “FDA sends warning to company for marketing dangerous unapproved stem cell products that put patients at risk and puts other stem cell firms, providers on notice.”

In September 2018, Liveyon suspended shipment of all product pending an FDA inquiry into the source of adverse reactions reported last year.  Liveyon also recalled all Genetech products it may have distributed.

E.coli Stem Cell Contamination

The recall came too late for some.  FDA reported on Dec. 20 that at least 12 people have suffered bacterial infections from contaminated stem cell therapy.  FDA said it was aware of a dozen patients who had received Genetech products from Liveyon and subsequently became ill due to blood and other infections caused by a number of bacteria, including Escherichia coli (E. coli).

The FDA and the CDC have both received “numerous reports of safety issues including those involving microbial contamination,” according to the FDA’s Dec. 20 warning letter.

The infections FDA found were described in a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) titled “Notes from the Field:  Bloodstream Joint Infections in Patients after Receiving Bacterially Contaminated Umbilical Cord Blood-derived Stem Cell Products for Non-hematopoietic Conditions – United States, 2018.”

Significant Deviations

The FDA said that during its inspection it documented evidence of “significant deviations” from CGTP and CGMP requirements in the manufacture of the umbilical cord blood-derived products.  Those deviations included:

  • Deficient donor eligibility practices
  • Unvalidated manufacturing processes
  • Uncontrolled environment
  • Lack of control over components used in production
  • A lack of defined areas or a control system to prevent contamination and mix-ups

The FDA requested a response from Genetech within 15 working days of the letter’s release.  (That would be on or around Jan. 4, 2018). The response letter should detail how the deviations noted in the warning letter will be corrected.  FDA said deviations not corrected by companies and owners can lead to enforcement action such as seizure, injunction, or prosecution.

FDA:  Report Adverse Events

The FDA warning letter also said health care professionals and consumers should report any adverse events related to treatments with the Liveyon products, Genetech products, or other stem cell treatments.

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