Hello Warriors;

It's time to get out and EDUCATE our communities. The media isn't doing it.

It’s time to get out and EDUCATE our communities. The media isn’t doing it.

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:

Judge Ken Molberg

Judge Ken Molberg

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.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 10.52.10 AMFor example, I wonder how many implanting physicians know about this recently-published article about polypropylene mesh implant in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: 

Degradation of polypropylene in vivo: A microscopic analysis of meshes explanted from patients (August 28, 2015).

Or this research article on implant of permanent polyethylene materials: 

Surface modification by plasma etching impairs early vascularization and tissue incorporation of porous polyethylene (Medpor®) implants (September 2015)

Or this research about characteristics of polypropylene in abdominal repairs using mesh:

The influence of mesh topology in the abdominal wall repair process (June 2015)

#TMWF USB Medical Bracelet - in black

#TMWF USB Medical Bracelet – in black

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.

Average 17 YEARS from discovery to adoption in practice! We don't have that much time!

Average of 17 YEARS from discovery to adoption for HALF of doctors to adopt in practice! 

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 Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 12.27.03 PMprocess 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?

Don’t Give Up: One of my favorite songs & a word of encouragement

The Mesh Warrior:

As we mourn for Carol Cavness in her loss against JnJ today; remember: DON’T GIVE UP! For a while it looked like AMS & Boston Scientific were going to get away with mass torture. But, they haven’t gotten away… yet. The same goes for JnJ. Even as you allow yourself to be discouraged and mourn for Carol’s loss. NEVER. EVER. EVER. GIVE. UP. That is the one thing we MUST NOT DO.

Originally posted on The Mesh Warrior:

Have you read this article from @JaneAkre @MeshDeviceNews? It’s an important reminder right now for those who have AMS mesh devices.

Read more here:  1.6 Billion Master Settlement Reached to Resolve AMS Pelvic Mesh Claims

Also remember that Boston Scientific is in the process of buying portions of AMS. Before the AMS buyout, Boston Scientific became emboldened last year after winning two MDL trials. However, with its last trial in Dallas, Boston Scientific was given a reality check about the severity of injuries their products have caused, when the jury reached a $78M+ verdict (later reduced to 26.7M) against the company.

Moral of the story: Don’t ever give up.

Don't Give Up

View original


stanford_medx_logo_V4_finalIt’s no surprise that patient data was a big topic at Stanford #MedX this year, especially since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated implementation of the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system, sometimes also called Electronic Health Records (EHR), and the deadline for implementation was in September for most healthcare entities.


No one that I came into contact with at the conference posed a solution, even with the EMR mandate, for sharing information seamlessly between physicians and with patients, though most everyone agreed: the EMR is not the be-all, end-all solution.

Many states have laws which grant ownership of your personal health data to the doctor or institution. Conversely, many states have no laws at all about who owns your medical records. Check out the map below, and read this blog post for more info: Stanford #MedX #WrapUp 2015 – Three Truths, No Lie

  • If you live in a grey state, there are no legal grounds for facilities to keep your medical records from you.
  • If you live in a dark blue, green or yellow state; Do not fret. Just because your doctor or institution owns your data, doesn’t mean that YOU DON’T ALSO HAVE THE RIGHT TO OWN A COPY OF YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS.
  • If you live in New Hampshire, count your blessings, and call yourself lucky to be among the 1.3 million Americans under a state law that mandates your personal ownership of all medical records, specifically and outright – no questions asked.
Do you own your OWN medical data?

Do you own your OWN medical data?


I am excited to announce that #TMWF is donating ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY (150) #TMWF Medical USB Bracelets to patients injured by mesh!

**** Woohoo! Yippee! ****

We will be shipping over the next two weeks! *Due to the limited quantity, we will donate on a first-come, first-served basis. Limit one bracelet per household please. 

↓ Look how pretty! ↓


“Necessity is the mother of invention.” ~ Plato

How do we, as patients, solve our own problems in the face of an incompetent healthcare system? WE ADAPT AND SOLVE.

Waaaayyyy back when – in 2011 

Binders - Much too binding!

Binders – Much too binding! 

I began carrying my mother’s medical records in 3-ring binders. I quickly learned that interoperability and sharing between doctors was practically non-existent. As the records grew, so did those binders, and the solution quickly became unsustainable, as I lugged huge binders around from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital.

So I adapted.

I began scanning in documents and images, recordings and notes – keeping all records on my computer to access at a moment’s notice if a doctor needed information that had not been shared by another provider on my mom’s care team. Housing the data on my computer was a great back-up plan, but during the standard 15-minute doctor’s visit, I was unable to access and, more importantly, TRANSFER information to the doctor as quickly as was needed.

So, I adapted again – circa 2012.

Plastic & thin metal casing made for an unreliable USB stick.

Plastic & thin metal casing made for an unreliable USB stick.

I began carrying an encrypted USB stick on my keychain including all Mom’s medical data, with the back-up on my computer and paper print-outs in my binder filing system. All that together was a great solution for a while, but the plastic and thin-metal casings on my inexpensive USBs simply did not hold up to the wear and tear of nearly constant usage and travel. The USBs wore out quickly, and I was in constant fear that the data was in danger of becoming corrupted.

So I adapted again – circa 2013.

Aha! This USB works! Sturdy & Stylish. Nearly two years old, and still going strong!

Aha! This USB works! Sturdy, stylish & still going strong after 2 years of wear!

I decided I needed to literally wear my mother’s medical records somehow. At first I made my own sort-of prototype, bracelet-USB-thingy-ma-bob, and while it worked, my prototype didn’t hold up too well. I began searching for a reliable, wearable USB, which was a challenge, but I found what has been the best answer yet: my sturdy & stylish, stainless steel & leather 8 Gig USB bracelet. I wear it daily, and it has held up for just shy of two years now. I have secured it with encryption software, so in case of loss or theft, the USB is useless to anyone else, and my mother’s personal information is still safe.

Now I wear two bracelets – one for Mom and one with my own data.

The #TMWF Yes M.A.M. Market Medical USB Bracelet - in black

The #TMWF Yes M.A.M. Market Medical USB Bracelet – in black

If we’ve run out of freebie bracelets before you have the chance to sign-up, you can buy the bracelet that I use from #TMWF’s Yes M.A.M Market. The bracelet from the market is a slightly different design (black, with different double-strand design instead of a wrap-around design) but it is just as stylish, sturdy, and useful!

*A word of advice – Some doctors have received my medical USB with great enthusiasm and gratitude. Other doctors have told me it’s illegal or against policy for me to share information with them via the USB. In all cases when I was told that, it was untrue. If your doctor is resistant to receiving information you provide him/her via the #TMWF Medical USB Bracelet, or in any other form, I suggest trying the following steps to ADAPT and SOLVE.

  • Offer suggestions
    • “Doctor, if you can’t download the information from my USB to any computer in your office, I’d like to email the information to you. What is your email address?”
    • “Is there an assistant with whom I can work to transfer the information from this USB to your office computer(s)?”
    • Bring hard-copy, paper print-outs of the most important information on your USB to each appointment. Insist that the paperwork be added to your medical record.
    • Upon leaving, ask for a copy of the doctor’s notes that day and/or a copy of any imaging or lab test results. If they say no at first, push the issue a bit. After all, it’s data from YOUR body.
    • If you don’t have a scanner at home or work that you can use; take your paperwork, images, and lab results to a FedEx-Kinko’s or similar business that can scan your records and place them on your USB. Of course, using these services will require payment, but you may find a helpful employee or sympathetic manager who is willing to lower the cost.
    • Ask for help along each step of the way. Tell the doctor/hospital or business that these scans are necessary for you to keep life-saving medical records up-to-date and/or that you are on a fixed income or Medicaid/Medicare. It never hurts to ask!


#TMWF/TMW will NEVER share your information with anyone for any reason.

Sunday Reflections – October 4: Fake Plastic Trees

Almost invariably, I wake up each morning with some song rolling around in my mind. This morning I woke up with Radiohead’sFake Plastic Trees,” in full-on live streaming mode.

This band and song was one of my favorites, back in the day, when pop culture began to be defined by the “Grunge” movement: flannel shirts, ripped jeans and broody-moody song lyrics as musicians returned to a rock sound with their grungy, gritty, back-to-the-roots of rock-n-roll aspirations. Bands like Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana and Metallica were the sounds that defined my young adult years, a time when most all of us – no matter the generation – begin to relate to music more deeply as we individuate and become more of the person we will be as an adult.

Fake Plastic Trees,” got me to thinking about plastic in general and when we, as a society, decided it was the wonder substance, to be used for everything under the sun. Plastic, as we obviously know, has real limitations. Certainly VERY REAL to all of us in the mesh community. How did our society go from deciding that glass Gatorade bottles were the enemy of our children’s basketball and volleyball courts (OH MY GOSH! The bottle could possibly break, and then could possibly hurt someone!) to “Plastic – It’s the NEW glass!” Where is the societal OUTRAGE over the ways plastic has hurt, maimed, killed, and sickened so many individual people?

The media whipped everyone into a frenzy several years ago over the ubiquitous use of BPA (Bisphenol A), just ONE type of plastic. The pace has slowed, but the use of BPA is still a hot news topic.

BPAbpa_freeRecent Studies State Chemical In Plastic Liquid Containers Contain Tox

“We can’t have our water bottles made with BPA,” they say. “Don’t store food inside BPA-containing tupperware, and don’t you dare commit the unpardonable sin of heating your food in the microwave in these plastic containers with BPA! Down, down with BPA! Kill the enemy!”

Oh, and, by the way, “SAVE THE PLANET! BPA is going to KILL THE PLANET!”

Hysteria ensued, and early-adopting consumers decided they would not go near a plastic product made with a single molecule of BPA. We began to see the marketers respond – labels on everything – “BPA-Free!” they said. We didn’t know what BPA was; we just knew it was REALLY, REALLY BAD, and it was becoming socially unacceptable to be seen in public – with our kids in tow – carrying the ostracizing, made in China, “Non-BPA free” reusable sports bottles.

The social pressure of early adopters changed the social norm of what was the acceptable use of this plastic and what was not.

Now, most every food-grade plastic is “BPA-free,” and the “theys” tell us, THIS PLASTIC (every other plastic polymer, especially Plastic #1, PET or Polyethylene terephthalate) is safe for your baby’s sippy cup, safe for you to drink from during your “Power Yoga” class, safe for the lining of metal cans that house baked beens, baby food and beauty products. But the truth is that BPA and PET are simply two canaries in the coal mine, warning us that plastic isn’t the world’s greatest invention since sliced bread.

Notice in the chart below, BPA is plastic #7 – the most dangerous of plastics – which can interrupt our endocrine systems and attack our balance of hormones, causing all manner of discomfort and illness. Since I found this chart, (unknown source) I’ve seen #9 inside the friendly triangle shape – a black plastic container holding cupcakes I bought. Now, all plastics must be labeled with its commensurate triangular icon and grade/number of plastic. No, the familiar, triangular arrow DOES NOT mean “recyclable.” Usually imprinted on the bottom of any given container, this triangular symbol tells you what kind of plastic you are recycling, eating from, or what kind of plastic is implanted in your body. I bet you didn’t get to turn over the mesh product placed in your body to look at which kind of plastic was being used, or even THAT plastic was being used in your “safe” medical implant at all.

The mesh community’s ENEMY #1 is Plastic #5 – Polypropylene.

Johnson and Johnson, Boston Scientific, Endo/AMS and other medical device manufactures put Plastic #5 – Polypropylene – in the bodies of millions of people for the repair of SUI, POP and/or hernia.

Polypropylene #5 is just two meager steps away from the source of our nationwide outrage – BPA, #7.

BPA - Just the worst off the worst.

BPA – Just the worst of the worst.

HEAR THIS: The PLANET will survive plastic; it is the human beings who live on the planet who will not.


Can we join forces under a shared goal – environmentalists, politicos of the anti-oil sort, advocates for quality in consumer products, and advocates for quality in medical-grade materials? The oceans and the Earth will adapt and survive. Apparently, it’s the most powerful human institutions that will not adapt, and the humans under their tyranny who will not survive. But in understanding how the social environment and its BPA frenzy CHANGED the socially accepted uses of BPA, we have a blueprint.

We have a more common shared enemy: the misuse of plastic.

All plastic is a petrochemical waste product that became a gold mine for all types of industry.

From toy makers – Remember wooden toys? What was so wrong with them?

To the manufacturers of food storage containers – Remember RUBBERmaid containers and Ball Jars? Rubber and glass are natural substances.

To manufacturers of food and beverage – Remember when Gatorade bottles were glass?

To clothing manufacturers – Our clothing is now largely made from plastic polymers or polymer blends (polyester, acetate, nylon and spandex being some of the most well known). Cotton, wool and denim were working fine, weren’t they? Try to find a pair of pure-denim jeans these days. Good luck, and bring your savings account.

Plastic works well for some uses. After all, it’s durable. It’ll be here for tens of thousands of years according to scientists. Plastic is convenient, disposable and inexpensive, right?

Or is it?

Polypropylene plastic mesh has not been convenient, disposable OR inexpensive for mesh-injured patients. The expense of the use of polypropylene mesh could never even be quantified. The precious injured ones and their families are PRICELESS. The financial and human losses of dignity, freedom, and quality of life FAR exceed even the most attractive legal awards ($73.5M, Salazar v. Boston Scientific).

Maybe our voices will be elevated to BPA-hysteria levels if we can connect with environmentalists; political ideologues, who loathe the oil-producing industry for so many reasons; and hovercraft, Soccer Moms who just want to make sure their children are not being poisoned.

Think about it.

Maybe we’re on to something. Maybe our cause and cries are more similar to those of Beth Terry at My Plastic Free Life than with those of anyone else.

If the healthcare industry and the FDA won’t listen to us, maybe the truly consumer-based industries will listen to us – when we stop giving them permission to make poison with our hard-earned dollars.


“Fake Plastic Trees”

Her green plastic watering can
For her fake Chinese rubber plant
In the fake plastic earth
That she bought from a rubber man
In a town full of rubber plans
To get rid of itself

It wears her out, it wears her out
It wears her out, it wears her out

She lives with a broken man
A cracked polystyrene man
Who just crumbles and burns
He used to do surgery
For girls in the eighties
But gravity always wins

It wears him out, it wears him out
It wears him out, it wears him out

She looks like the real thing
She tastes like the real thing
My fake plastic love
But I can’t help the feeling
I could blow through the ceiling
If I just turn and run

It wears me out, it wears me out
It wears me out, it wears me out

If I could be who you wanted
If I could be who you wanted all the time

All the time…
All the time…

 More about BPA:

The Baltimore Sun – October 4, 2015 – September 29, 2015

Scientific American – September 25, 2015

Stanford University News – September 23, 2015

TIME Magazine – June 3, 2015

Let’s support Carol Caveness as she takes on JnJ/Ethicon’s Prosima Mesh!

The layout of a typical U.S. CourtroomHello Warriors;

I understand how hard it might be to even imagine getting out… but IF YOU CAN, please try to attend one or two days of Carol Caveness v. Ethicon’s Prosima. Remember, Prosimia was taken OFF THE MARKET. How will #JnJ defend from that position?


1) Read below article from Law360* about the details of the case.

2) Read refresher blog on how to attend court with confidence as a citizen observer.

3) Directions to the 95th District Court in downtown Dallas, Judge Molberg Presiding

J&J’s Ethicon Unit Defends Pelvic Mesh In Dallas Trial

By Jess Davis
Law360, Dallas (September 22, 2015, 9:29 PM ET) — Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Inc. unit told a Texas state court jury on Tuesday it is not responsible for injuries sustained by a woman who had the company’s Prosima pelvic mesh implant, in the country’s first trial involving the Gynecare Prosima Pelvic Floor Repair System.

In opening statements Tuesday afternoon, Ethicon told Dallas County District Court jurors that plaintiff Carol Cavness is suing the company for injuries its product did not cause, and defended the safety of its device. Cavness is seeking unspecified damages, including a punitive award, against Ethicon, which she says pushed an unsafe and defectively designed product to market despite knowing it had a high risk of complications like the years of pain she has been suffering.

Cavness’ attorney, David Matthews of Matthews & Associates, told jurors they would be the first in the country to see evidence of Ethicon’s internal development documents for the Prosima device and the warnings he said the company’s own doctors and consultants issued about the safety risks of the device. Excerpts from the documents he showed during the opening described Prosima as a “reckless product,” said “Prosima is not needed” and said the doctors had “low confidence in the data.”

“This company had multiple opportunities to stop a product they knew was dangerous but they didn’t because they pushed it for profits,” Matthews said.

He said Ethicon was told the Prosima’s plastic was too stiff for the vagina and that it was an unnecessary device because an existing surgical technique was available that achieved the same result with lower risk.

Cavness, an aircraft mechanic, was lifting a heavy object at work in April 2012 when she felt a groin strain, Matthews said. Within days, a doctor diagnosed her with pelvic organ prolapse and she had surgery to repair the prolapse with a Prosima implant, along with several other procedures.

Cavness filed suit two years after the surgery and claims that within a month of the Prosima implant, she began to have severe pain and difficulty walking. In the years since, she has had continued pain, chronic inflammation and massive scarring in the pelvis, makes weekly trips to her doctor and has developed depression and anxiety, Matthews told jurors.

Ethicon attorney Kat Gallagher of Beck Redden LLP largely steered clear of the safety of the Prosima device in her opening statement, instead concentrating on Cavness’ medical history and telling jurors the pain Cavness suffered was never caused by the Prosima mesh.

Gallagher said the pain was likely caused by “pelvic floor disorder,” a disease she was diagnosed with in May by a specialist who Cavness had not previously seen. Gallagher said an expert witness will testify that the pelvic floor disorder was triggered by the 2012 injury Cavness suffered at work.

She told jurors that though it took years to discover and that the company empathized with the pain Cavness had suffered, it was the pelvic floor disorder and not the Prosima mesh that caused her so much pain.

Gallagher did address Ethicon’s decision to pull the Prosima and other pelvic mesh devices from the market, but denied it was because they were unsafe. She said that health notices issued by the FDA about pelvic mesh scared women and made doctors fear litigation, translating to plummeting sales of the Prosima device.

Low sales figures caused by negative publicity about pelvic mesh, combined with the $4 million to $5 million cost of performing a safety study, is what made Ethicon pull the product, she said.

“This was a business decision by Ethicon in the face of what was happening,” Gallagher said. “A business decision.”

The first witness in the case will take the stand Wednesday morning.

Cavness is represented by Bill Blankenship of William F. Blankenship III PC, Tim Goss and Rich Freese of Freese & Goss PLLC, Richard Capshaw of Capshaw & Associates, Kevin Edwards and Peter de la Cerda of Edwards & de la Cerda PLLC, and Julie Rhoades and David Matthews of Matthews & Associates.

Ethicon is represented by William Massie Gage and Helen Kathryn Downs of Butler Snow LLP and Kat Gallagher of Beck Redden LLP. The doctor is represented by Philipa Remington and Cathryn Paton of Thiebaud Remington Thornton Bailey LLP.

The case is Cavness v. Kowalczyk et al., case number DC-14-04220, in the 95th District Court of Dallas County, Texas.

Judge Ken Molberg, seeking reelection as a state judge, for the 95th District Court in Texas

Judge Ken Molberg, state judge, for the 95th District Court in Texas

Read Chapter 2 and Chapter 3: Steven Brill’s “America’s Most Loved Lawbreaker”

Writer and Journalist, Mr. Steven Brill

Writer and Journalist, Mr. Steven Brill

Johnson and Johnson has been put under the powerful microscope of Mr. Steven Brill, an author, speaker and graduate of Yale College (English major) and Yale College of law. If you want to know how the mesh massacre happened, his 15-Chapter “DocuSerial” will give you a good blue print.

He is posting one chapter per day on the Huffington Post’s Highline. Be sure to read yesterday’s, Chapter 2, and also today’s Chapter 3. Audio is available for every chapter as well! Here are my thoughts on his introductory chapter: CHAPTER ONE: You say “Credo,” I say “Crudo!”

What do you think about Mr. Brill’s “DoucSerial?”

Chapter 3: Sales Over Science

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 9.00.00 AM

Chapter 2: Blowing Past The Label

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.09.03 AM

CHAPTER ONE: You say “Credo,” I say “Crudo!” JnJ called out in Huff Post by Steven Brill

Writer and Journalist, Mr. Steven Brill

Writer and Journalist, Mr. Steven Brill

Storytellers seem to be making a comeback. Steven Brill, a graduate of Yale College (English major) and Yale Law School is “bringing sexy back” to storytelling.

In his most recent writing in the Huffington Post, he aspires:

“To tell that story in a way that is digestible but complete, The Huffington Post Highline and I are trying something new: a DocuSerial. It’s a reconstruction of an old story-telling genre that allows us to deploy the modern tools of digital communication to engage readers in old-fashioned, long-form feature journalism.”

Applause, golf clap, jazz clap – I am definitely on board with this retro trend.

In his first “DocuSerial,” Brill puts Johnson & Johnson under a powerful microscope, exploring their exploits from all angles. He has officially dubbed #JnJ as “America’s Most Loved Lawbreaker” in his accessible, well-researched piece of the same name, here. Today, he published the first of 15 chapters about Johnson & Johnson and the rollercoaster story of its profitable, yet deeply deceptively marketed, ill-fated drug, Risperdal, a drug which has had life-changing consequences for many people, mostly children and the elderly. See my blog about how exploitation of the weakest among us is as old as time, “Sunday Reflections, August 8.”

I strongly suggest you read Brill’s 15-chapter “DocuSerial” in its entirety, as my blog is an interpretation of his very well-organized story form, complete with graphics and a timeline, of the unfolding of the Risperdal catastrophe and its representation as just ONE DRUG that Johnson & Johnson has marketed illegally, to the peril and suffering of many innocents. I will implore him (and implore you to implore him) to write a similar DocuSerial about transvaginal mesh and hernia mesh. Read about Brill’s Docuserial from another point of view, that of Melayna Lokowsky, a #JnJ whistleblower who writes a blog called Killing My Career, to teach readers how sociopaths rise to the top of corporations and then employ what she calls, “The Sociopathic Business Model™.” Learn as much as you can NOT about the “Why?” or the “Why me?” for there is only one answer to those questions, and it is a bitter pill to swallow. The answer to “Why Me?” is because we live in a broken world, full of greed and the love of money. When you begin to ask the question, “How?” only then will you begin a journey of finding concrete answers that will help you fight YOUR fight.

Brill begins with a reminder to us, his dear reader, that #JnJ’s Credo, in place since the reign of the company’s first-line heir, Robert Wood Johnson II is:

“We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses, and patients, to mothers and fathers, and all others who use our products and services.”


Do you believe that? I sure don’t. “To mothers and fathers. . .” seriously? It’s farcical at best. At worst, the credo mocks, taunts and haunts those of us who know differently because of our experiences with polypropylene mesh. I call .  . . well, I guess I should now rate this writing about #JnJ: Rated “B” for mature audiences only.

As we all know, many people have been credited with saying some form of “Actions speak louder than words.”

In its earliest iteration, the sentiment is found in the Bible, 1 John 3:17-18:

“But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”

Yes, the spirit of the phrase “actions speak louder than words” goes back … way back! (SOURCE:

Never has an adage lived up to the test of time so much as now. Could there be a more influential company with a louder voice to tout this well-known, oft-quoted maxim? However, I don’t think any of the original orators of the adage intended it to be thought of as what it has become, with respect to #JnJ, America’s 7th largest publicly-held company.

I’d argue that #JnJ has invented something much, much better than Risperdal or Transvaginal Mesh: “The Crudo.” I’ll offer an operational definition here:oh-crud-bb.regular

“Crudo: a credo, still in use, but which has become corrupted to the point that it is crude crud.” #JnJ’s “Crudo” could well be “Actions are unable to speak; and since words are a dime a dozen, we use them as often as we can instead.”

It appears that Johnson & Johnson has a totally different definition for adverse effects as well. Brill notes that a recent conversation with a financial analyst at #JnJ’s annual shareholder meeting resulted in this comment by the analyst,

As Johnson & Johnson declared in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission three weeks before the analysts’ conference,

“In the Company’s opinion … the ultimate outcome of legal proceedings, net of liabilities accrued in the Company’s balance sheet, is not expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial position.” (Emphasis in bold is mine.)

Photo credit: Mesh News Desk (

Photo credit: Mesh News Desk (

This statement begs the question, “Just how frighteningly IGNORANT are these people?” A vast majority of #JnJ consumers have severe adverse effects that affect more than their just their financial positions, effects that profoundly alter and forever change the status of their long term health, their family lives and their quality of life. It’s beyond insulting that the analyst even used the well-established, well-known definition of “adverse effect” in this context AND in reference to the medical industry!

What Johnson & Johnson has become is such a far cry from what its founder, R.W. Johnson, envisioned, that I cannot reconcile how his heirs could dishonor their patriarch in such a heinous way. It seems a mockery to the original Mr. Johnson and to all consumers past, present and future, that the company’s credo is engraved in stone at its Brunswick, New Jersey headquarters. True to their unofficial “Crudo,” they ought to consider replacing it, for it would be more profitable for them to replace the stone with a more accurate “vision,” one that represents what they actually do today, instead of changing their actions to revert to their original credo . . . Oh but wait; there’s that whole immeasurable, but quite visible “brand equity” thing. You know the one. . . “Johnson & Johnson – a family company.” I beg to differ and offer this instead:

“Johnson & Johnson, a family-demolishing company.”

The actions of this company do speak louder than words. #JnJ is far more successful in its Crudo than in its Credo.

Further into Mr. Brill’s account of speaking with #JnJ execs, we find a quote by Vice President for Media Relations Ernie Knewitz,

“In our opinion, significant ambiguity exists about what is or is not permissible regarding the communication of truthful and non-misleading scientific information about FDA-approved pharmaceutical products. Like doctors, patients, and others in the industry, we share an interest in greater regulatory clarity on the rules for appropriate promotion and scientific exchange, and we are working through industry groups to bring clarity and consistency to the rules that apply to those communications.”

Or in my own words, “We take advantage of every possible vagary to exploit our consumers and put profits before patients, simply because we can.” I find the surname “Knewitz” to be very fitting of a man who would say those words, or worse yet, actually believe them, for he Knows It, and he Knew It – he knows of every sociopathic dirty deed, he spins.


Mesh injured patients and their families are summed up by two words on the international, behemoth company’s P&L statement, “accrued liabilities.” That’s what we are to them. That’s what our devastating loss represents to them – just two words – a line item on a financial statement.

Modern Medieval Medicine - Paradoxical or not?

Modern Medieval Medicine – Paradoxical or not?

I hope you, Mesh Warriors, will find the significance of his writing as landmark as I do. What Brill is doing is documenting MEDICAL HISTORY. He is not simply writing. He is giving all of us access to the dark ages of medical history. NOW.

Thank you, Mr. Brill for your magnificent work and dedication. I can’t wait to read Chapter Two tomorrow!

Loved Ones Perish While Mesh Manufactures Profit and the Legal Community Struggles to Keep Pace

Hello Warriors;

As most of you know, the defectively-designed mesh products and their complications, have taken the lives of at least two of our community members. Still many iterations of the mesh, including Johnson and Johnson’s TVT and TVT-O, remain on the market and are being implanted in women every day.

Dr. Steven Sukin, Urologist at Texas Urology Specialists

Dr. Steven Sukin, Urologist at Texas Urology Specialists

I recently came across this Woodlands, Texas urologist and his impressive C.V. In it, Harvard undergrad, and Baylor Medical School graduate, Dr. Steven Sukin, of Texas Urology Specialists touts his training as a “Proctor for Intuitive Surgical for Robotic Surgery.” A link from his website, titled, “Urinary Incontinence,” leads to this link citing TVT as an option for treatment. I learned of one woman last week who had “done her homework” and chose to have mesh implanted, by Dr. Sukin, for the treatment of SUI. My heart sank, and I have added her to a long list of folks I pray for regularly. Maybe she will be one of the lucky ones. I hope so.

As most of you know, Linda Batiste passed away on August 8, and her memorial service was a week later on August 15. The jury awarded Ms. Batiste $1.2M for compensatory damages on April 3, 2014.  The jury expressly stated that they believed Johnson & Johnson’s TVT-O to be defectively designed. The case is on appeal, and the family has not seen a cent of the jury award.

Our community also lost, Mrs. Joan Budke, whose case was settled against Ethicon’s Prolift, at the last minute, as her trial went into closing arguments and approached deliberation by the jury. Johnson and Johnson decided to halt proceedings, and offer a settlement of an undisclosed amount, on January 15, 2015, which Mrs. Budke’s surviving family members accepted.

Linda Batiste with her family

Linda Batiste (in a wheelchair) with her family

These women have one thing in common for sure.

They won their battles against Johnson and Johnson, but they lost their lives. 

They received justice. But justice came too little and too late, for them and for their families who are left with a giant void where their matriarchs used to endwell.

The loss of these two souls reminds us that the battle is not primarily a legal one.

The battle is for LIFE and FREEDOM from the threat of violence, disguised as medical treatment.

Joan with her family

Joan Budke (center) with her family

I am learning about the process of justice and the legal restraints sometimes placed upon the attorneys who defend us – the plaintiffs’ attorneys. Last Thursday evening, I attended a fundraiser, held for Judge Ken Molberg of the 95th district court in Texas. He was the judge who presided over Ms. Batiste’s trial against Johnson and Johnson’s and Ethicon’s TVT-O.

Sponsors of Judge Molberg's Fundraiser, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015

Sponsors of Judge Molberg’s Fundraiser, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015

As a non-profit, whose efforts are not primarily political in nature, TMWF could not donate to Molberg’s campaign efforts, although attending his fundraiser (or the fundraisers of any other elected official) is permissible. The event was held at a private home, a long-time friend of Judge Molberg’s, and a former lawyer herself.

During Ms. Batiste’s trial, I gained a great amount of respect for Ken Molberg, a Democratic judge who is officially on the campaign trail, seeking reelection. Molberg has presided over the 95th district court in Texas for seven years. The fundraiser’s hostess gave a heart-warming and humor-filled speech about the character of Judge Molberg. I found it to be absolutely consistent with his character in the courtroom.

As citizens, non-elected officials, we don’t always have a good understanding of what our public servants endure to defend our civil and human rights. As a judge, Molberg has been the target of those who disagree with his rulings, and our hostesses’ speech was a good reminder that there is great cost that comes to one personally, and one’s family, for doing the work of standing up for others.

Our hostess described one night, many years ago, when a group of unknown people broke into the judge’s home in the middle of the night. For just such occasions, the judge owns a rifle for self defense. However, for the safety of his four children who very young at the time, he kept the rifle unloaded, and after he commanded his wife and children to hide upstairs, in the master bedroom’s bathroom, he struggled to find the gun’s bullets. According to our hostess, Judge Molberg went outside on the balcony with an unloaded gun, and began to defend himself and his family, pointing the gun to and fro and yelling at the vandals and trespassers to leave or regret it. They left. They ran from his courage, not his bullets.

Our hostess concluded, saying,

“That’s the kind of man Ken is. He will defend you at all costs, even with no bullets.”

Judge Ken Molberg, seeking reelection as a state judge, for the 95th District Court in Texas

Judge Ken Molberg, seeking reelection as a state judge, for the 95th District Court in Texas

When it was time for the judge, himself, to remark; he began with a similar light-heartedness, saying he had all but forgotten the incident. He laughed, seemingly at himself, that he would ever have done such a thing. But his remarks quickly turned to the serious nature of his position and that he does not take his authority lightly. He thanked several friends and members of the crowd, mostly lawyers and other current and past judges. He went on to say,

“Everyone deserves the constitutional right to a trial by jury.”

He continued in a somewhat somber, more reverant manner, sometimes staring at the floor. He said that mass torts are not the kind of justice our founders imagined, and with great vigor and sincerity, he expressed gratitude for the opportunity to represent the justice of the people in our community when afforded the opportunity to preside over trial. He closed by humbly asking for the vote of each of us, noting he would continue to serve the rights of the people and in the public’s interest.

As a non-profit founder, I found myself as somewhat of a fish-out-of-water, but kind paralegals and even some plaintiff’s attorneys took me under their wings. One even donated two dollars for me to pay the valet to retrieve my car (Every dollar counts!).

Color For a Cause

Color For a Cause

The most encouraging exchange came when one of the plaintiff’s attorneys let me know that I, and the TMWF community, are welcome on their side of the courtroom – yes – even donning our blue lips.

The next trial set for Molberg’s courtroom is Carol Cavness v. Ethicon and its Gyenecare Prosima Pelvic Floor Kit.

Dr. Teresa Kowalczyk

Dr. Teresa Kowalczyk

Ms. Cavness is bringing a cause of action against her doctor, OB/Gyn, Teresa Kowalczyk MD, of Hunt Memorial Hospital in Texas; as well as Hunt Regional Medical Center and Baylor Healthcare System; Johnson and Johnson and Ethicon in this product liability action.

Jury selection begins September 21, and opening remarks are expected to begin September 23, 2015. I would like to personally call for any mesh-injured woman who can travel, to try to attend a few days of her trial. There is an odd healing that happens when you support another human being in this way. I believe it will be very important for our community to find a way to cover the trial, as it’s one of the first to involve suing the doctor and her supporting healthcare affiliates. I will not be able to report on the trial, as I will be at the 2015 Stanford Medicine X Conference. According to Jane Akre’s MND:

Jane Akre, Mesh News Desk

Jane Akre, Mesh News Desk

“The suit notes polypropylene material sparks an immune reaction; pathogens attach when the mesh is implanted vaginally (transvaginal); the mesh shrinks; the mesh causes friction with the underlying tissue causing the tissue to degrade; the mesh injures major nerve routes in the pelvic region and degrades over time taking with it the internal tissues; the welding of the mesh during production creates a toxic substance that contributes to the degradation of the mesh and host tissue; and the design of trocars potentially penetrates nerve-rich environments.”

The immune-system reaction has not been of great focus in most of these trials, though most every sufferer of adverse events, reports that it is a major factor in continued injury and chronic pain.

I pray that Ms. Cavness will receive justice in Judge Molberg’s courtroom, as have others, like Ms. Batiste, who’ve gone before her. I pray that the justice system, and the people of this country, can force accountability where the manufactures will not.

For a refresher course on how to prepare to attend a trial, see my blog post here. I hope some of you will be able to attend, and if you want to be welcomed, blue lips and all, here is the post I wrote about how to don your blues.

Find the courtroom location and contact information here. I hope some of you can attend.

The Lake Highlands Advocate Remembers Linda Batiste

Hello Warriors!

Please click through to link to the story on The Advocate’s website. Linda lived in Lake Highlands, and I think it’s wonderful that they have honored her with a story.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 3.13.25 PM“Remembering the Lake Highlands woman who faced down makers of faulty medical device”

by Christina Hughes Babb of the Lake Highlands Advocate in Dallas

Your Warrior,