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No Justice, No Peace

One Man VS Big Pharma

by Dan Merchant Test Group

One Man Vs Big Pharma
One Man Vs Big Pharma

Also posted by DanMerchant:

By Dan Merchant

Printed in The Agora newspaper, Vancouver B.C.

www.AgoraNews.org

 

This summer marks seven years since a routine medical exam changed the course of Tim Moorley’s life.  For four and a half years, Moorley has been seeking justice against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, for harm they have caused him and countless others.  His fight has been hindered by suspicious behaviour in the medical system and a lack of cooperation by the provincial government.

The BC father of 5 was an amateur boxer who happened to experience some pain in his feet while running.  During a routine exam he was prescribed the common pain medication Celebrex. For about three weeks the drug seemed to work as prescribed, until the morning he woke up ill and found he couldn’t walk.

Celebrex is a COX-2 inhibitor pill made by Pfizer that is used to treat acute pain.  Like Vioxx, another COX-2 inhibitor, Celebrex has been shown to increase the risk of heart attack by up to 250%, and increases the risk of stroke and blood clots.

Unbeknownst to him, Moorley had been living with a heart condition called a patent foramen ovale (PFO.)  PFOs occur in about 20% of the population, but usually cause no symptoms, and can only be detected by specialized tests.  A PFO allows venous blood (low oxygen count) to enter directly into the arteries, which can increase the risk of blood clots entering the arteries.  

It is believed the combination of a PFO and the drug Celebrex are what led to a blood clot in Moorley’s femoral artery, which, after months of pain, resulted in a femoral bypass graft and an amputated toe.  He has since dealt with subsequent clots, amputations, and has a life threatening hole in his heart.

After contacting Pfizer, Moorley’s family doctor learned that the case was not unique, and informed his patient that he could file a lawsuit against Pfizer.  Moorley sought legal council and retained the Vancouver law firm of Pointer and Baxter.  On January 5, 2005 a class action lawsuit was filed in B.C. Supreme court for damages caused by Celebrex.  

Two years after the femoral bypass, Moorley sustained a minor injury that would not heal, and caused him to become very ill once again.  Due to his recent medical history he was referred to Surrey Memorial for an echocardiogram (echo). On December 8, 2006 the test was performed. The results were read by a doctor who then decided to do a bubble study.  After the study was completed, the doctor informed Moorley that there was a hole in his heart, and recommended he see his GP as soon as possible.

The next morning Moorley saw his GP, who had received the results from the cardiograph, but not the bubble test.  When contacted later the same day, the doctor from the hospital denied ever seeing Moorley. When pressed, he admitted to reading the echo, but claimed he did not perform a bubble test and that there was no record of one. Three weeks later, the administration at Surrey Memorial informed Moorley that they found a vial of saline solution (used for bubble studies) that had been allocated to him, but it was the only record they had.  His file was amended to include the find, but still did not include any information on the outcome of the test.  Due to the lack of medical evidence, Pointer and Baxter had to drop the case, leaving Moorley as the Legal Council on Record for the class action suit.

In March 2007, Moorley saw Dr. McCuaig to have stitches removed from his recent finger amputation.  After hearing the story, Dr McCuaig agreed to take Moorley on as a patient, and started trying to get another bubble test scheduled.  After nearly a year of having his requisitions denied by all hospitals in the lower mainland, Dr. McCuaig went to the media for help.  In April 2008, The Surrey Leader published an article about Dr. McCuaig not being able to get Moorley a bubble study.  The article put pressure on the Fraser Health Authority and they agreed to schedule a test for May 8, 2008.

The May 8th bubble test was performed by Dr. Stephen Pearce who said the test looked fine.  The echo technician, Dave Gardner, who happened to be the most senior tech in the Lower Mainland, stood up and said, “I’m uncomfortable with this.”  He was told to shut up and sit down, but refused to and walked out.  After the test was complete Moorley and a friend, who had filmed the procedure, were escorted out by security.  

Disheartened by the inconsistent and suspicious proceedings, Moorley was forced to travel to Washington and pay out of pocket for another echo and a bubble test.  On September 30, 2008 at Washington North Cascade Cardiology, Moorley was told that he was missing part of his heart.  Dr. McCuaig was faxed the results the next morning and when Moorley arrived at his office to go over them, the Dr. admitted that his faith in the medical system was shaken.  Dr. McCuaig then added the files from North Cascade Cardiology to Moorley’s medical record and began asking various doctors around the lower mainland to perform open heart surgery.

Finally a surgeon agreed to take Moorley as a patient.  He scheduled the necessary tests, but wanted to know why there were conflicting bubble test results.  When Moorley explained the story, the doctor told him he would be unable to perform the surgery and had to drop him as a patient.  Dr. McCuaig received a private letter from Dr. Abrams explaining his reason for dropping Moorley was the conflicting bubble tests. Dr. McCuaig felt obligated to share the letter with Moorley, but once Dr. Abrams found out that he had done so, Dr. McCuaig was immediately removed from the clinic. The clinic would not give Moorley any information about what had happened to Dr McCuaig.  

On November 17 2009, Dr. Bernstein, a cardiologist at VGH, looked at the North Cascade Cardiology results and agreed that there appeared to be a hole in Moorley’s heart. She set up a Transesophageal Echocardiogram to get a better look at the shape of the hole and determine the best course of action.  Having recently experienced the questionable conduct of various health care professionals, Moorley recorded the conversation he had with Dr. Bernstein.  When Moorley informed her that she had been recorded, she refused to continue working with him.  

Since his interaction with Dr Bernstein he has not seen another doctor.  

In February 2010, Moorley discovered that Dr McCuaig was working at Delta Hospital.  He and his wife confronted Dr. McCuaig in the hallway of the hospital while a friend filmed.  Dr. McCuaig admitted that the standard of care had not been met in Moorley’s case and agreed to write a letter to that effect.  Moorley received the letter a few days later, and it states that he has not received adequate medical treatment and if there is no one willing to perform necessary tests and procedures locally he should be sent somewhere else.

In Oct 22 2008, Moorley distributed copies of the North Cascade Cardiology images to everyone involved in the Pfizer case.  One year later Derek Mullin, the Pfizer lead legal council, contacted Moorley offering him $50 000 to settle the case.  This would mean all the other plaintiffs would get nothing.  He refused.

After his class action suit was dropped by Pointer and Baxter, and Moorley was made the legal council on record, he no longer has the mechanism to distribute any money that would be awarded.  Therefore he is unable to represent the plaintiffs in the negotiations.  In February 2007 he filed a small claims lawsuit against the Fraser Health Authority for not providing him with the standard of care.  When this case reaches the BC Supreme court, it will enable him to continue his pursuit of Pfizer, as well as hold the associated care providers accountable for their actions.

Tim Moorley was given a drug that was known to be dangerous, and then his test results were ‘lost’, faked, and further tests were withheld.  The medical professionals he trusted misled him and were not able or willing to assist him with a treatable condition that now threatens his life.

Drugs that are known to be dangerous are being promoted, marketed, and sold to us.  As fellow citizens it’s time for us to wake up, and start paying attention to what is happening to our medical system, and who is behind it.  The bottom line of big pharma’s influence is that it has critically altered the way medicine is practiced.  This is more than an unfortunate story about one man - this is the reality we are living in and we need to work together for justice and peace.

 

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Comments

London, Ontario

Hi,

Could you please tell us why you have added this to the local London, Ontario group?  It seems as though there is no London-specific side to this article. 

The London, Ontario group is for material about London (to some extent), or by Londoners.

 Of course, big companies

 Of course, big companies always had the right to ruin people's lives & never pay compensation.  Only difference is with Internet availability, it's a little harder to cover up. 

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