Monday, April 24, 2006

Garza Vioxx Verdict: Trial Analysis

This case was tried only one week per month and as a result not easy to track. A member of the trial team provided the analysis below:

Leonel Garza was a 71 year old smoker with an extensive cardiac history - prior heart attack, bypass, stent placement. Retired military who worked as assistant County Auditor until he retired from that as well. Very active and careful since had previous heart problems. His wife testified that he had cut down his smoking from two packs a day to 3-4 cigarettes a day. Hypertension, hyperlipidemia, treated and well controlled.

Garza visited a cardiologist 3/27/01 complaining of arm pain. Doctor placed him on a seven day trial of an "anti-inflammatory" Only reference to Vioxx was a note made on billing sheet. Had a thallium scan performed which showed good perfusionand only mild abnormality in the region of previous mi. Dr Juan Posada (not his regular cardiologist) saw him in follow- up on 4/4/01 as Dr Evans was out. His notes reflect that he had arthritis symptoms which had "improved markedly" (because of the Vioxx)

Wife testified that Dr. Posada provided samples until his next visit (in a month) with Evans. His records reflected that he offered the "possibility" of a cath but garza wanted to discuss it with Evans. Posada agreed with the decision based on the absence of symptoms. Although Posada's records do not reflect that samples were provided, he testified that it was possible. Additionally, he said that it was more likely than not that a reasonable and prudent physician would continue medication that provided pain relief. Records also reflect that he was on 'optimal medical management"

On April 21, 2001, he was found dead beside his truck at his ranch. Autopsy revealed two fresh thrombotic occlusions. Case tried by David Hockema and Joe Escobedo from the firm of Hockema Tippett and Escobedo of Edinburg, and Kathy Snapka Turman& Waterhouse of Corpus Christi. Ms. Snapka provided this analysis.