Friday, August 19, 2005

Un. Be. Lievable

This is, quite frankly, despicable and indicative of the problem we have in this country with a tort system that has no restraint. Here's the kicker:

Unlike many other pending lawsuits involving obvious heart attacks, the Ernst case centered on an autopsy that attributed his death to an arrhythmia secondary to clogged arteries. That autopsy — and the coroner who performed it — proved critical to the trial's outcome.

Merck pointed to the autopsy as proof that Vioxx could not have caused the death of Ernst, who ran marathons and taught aerobics.

However, Dr. Maria Araneta, the pathologist who performed Ernst's autopsy, testified for Ernst that a blood clot that she couldn't find probably caused a heart attack that triggered Ernst's arrhythmia. She also said the heart attack killed Ernst too quickly for his heart to show damage.

While Araneta couldn't say definitively that he had a blood clot and heart attack, she insisted they were the likely culprits in triggering an arrhythmia, which she said wouldn't happen on its own.

And her evidence was......? Can't wait to see the feeding frenzy that follows this decision. If we are to remain a leader in the world, whether in medicine, technology, or tiddlywinks, some sanity must be restored to the tort system. Quite frankly, I am embarrassed to say that I was born in the state that produced this decision.
{And yes, I know, the article points out that state law caps the award amount, so Merck won't be faced with paying the outrageous sum --- the despicable part is that basically, there's no proof that this man died as a result of taking Vioxx, and no proof that Merck did anything wrong to this man. Sort of echoes the whole breast implant brouhaha.}