14 May 2012
A study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found spinal fusion surgeries are on the rise. Unfortunately, these risky and complicated surgeries are not necessary for many patients receiving them. The study found this procedure is often performed on patients suffering lower back problems connected to aging and arthritis -- patients who may not be good candidates for the procedure.
Instead, the procedure is designed for patients suffering from fractured vertebrae or damage caused by scoliosis or tumors. Such misuse of the procedure could lead to an increase in spinal cord injuries.Spinal fusion is a type of surgery that permanently joins two or more vertebrae in the spine. This is done by grafting bone material into part of the spine, generally held in place by metal rods, screws, plates or cages until the grafts are fully incorporated into the spine.
By Dr. Mercola
What would you say if you knew someone had killed 60,000 people? Would you call it a felony of the worst kind, times 60,000? If you totaled up the value of all those lives in criminal court, what would you say they're worth?Billions? Trillions?Or—how about a measly $321 million in exchange for a guilty plea to a misdemeanor? When you consider that this involves the second-largest drug maker in the U.S.—Merck—and its deadly drug Vioxx, then you'll probably agree that a misdemeanor and a $321 million fine amounts to nothing more than a slap on the wrist.Business analysts were estimating a $25 billion judgment when the drug was taken off the market, but even when combined with the $4.85 billion in payouts to patients who suffered heart attacks and strokesi, the final bill is nowhere close to original estimates of the damage.Yet that's the plea agreement Merck recently made with a federal court in Boston on April 19ii, after being charged with illegal promotion of Vioxx for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, before it was approved for that use.The sad tale brings up memories of what I tried to warn readers about in 1999, when I showed that people taking this drug were at a massively increased risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. It's tragic that Vioxx was removed only AFTER 60,000 people died.It's even more tragic that a court would consider Merck's illegal promotion of the drug a misdemeanor rather than a felony, since this tactic clearly exposed far more people to the dangerous drug than it would have otherwise. And, adding insult to injury, instead of the billions that Merck anticipated paying out, it got away with such a paltry sum.