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Nation first Vioxx trial begins

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					12A | LAREDO MORNING TIMES                                                                                                                                                                                                      FRIDAY, JULY 15, 2005




       October 9, 1917
                        OBITUARIES
                    DENNIS M. GAMBOA
                                              July 10, 2005
                                                                          Nation’s first Vioxx trial begins
 Minas de Santo Tomas, Texas                  Laredo, Texas                         By KRISTEN HAYS                                                                                                             is the first of more than 3,800
                                                                                    ASSOCIATED PRESS                                                                                                            state and federal lawsuits pending
    Dennis M. Gamboa, 87, was        at 10 a.m.                                                                                                                                                                 against New Jersey-based Merck.
called to be with the Lord on July       Interment followed in the           ANGLETON, Texas — Merck &                                                                                                              Kiernan said the terms ar-
10, 2005.                            family plot of the Calvary           Co. traded its mission of healing                                                                                                     rhythmia and heart attack are not
    A rosary was recited by          Catholic Cemetery.                   and treating sickness for relent-                                                                                                     interchangeable, and Vioxx “had
Msgr. Tom Davis on Wednes-               Pallbearers were Jose Eduar-     less marketing and pursuit of                                                                                                         nothing to do with Mr. Ernst’s
day July 13, 2005, at 7 p.m. in      do Molina, Javier Eustolio Moli-     profits, a plaintiff’s lawyer in the                                                                                                  death. It was not a heart attack. Be
the Hillside Funeral Home            na, Marcelo Gamboa, Oscar R.         nation’s first Vioxx-related law-                                                                                                     wary of the attempts to blur the
chapel. Visitation was from 4        Martinez, Joseph W. Silva, Gon-      suit to go to trial told jurors                                                                                                       distinction between the two.”
to 9 p.m.                            zalo Benavides, Leopoldo             Thursday.                                                                                                                                 Lanier said he aims to show a
    Funeral services were held       Medrano and John Orfila, Jr.;           Mark Lanier, representing                                                                                                          heart attack causes arrhythmia,
Thursday, July 14, 2005, at          honorary pallbearers were            widow Carol Ernst, displayed the                                                                                                      and Ernst’s sudden death left no
9:30 a.m. from Hillside Funer-       Gilberto Martinez, John Orfila       phrase “Merck-y ethics” on a                                                                                                          time for any heart damage to
al H ome to St. Patri ck’s           Sr., James H. Richardson, Carlos     large screen and promised to                                                                                                          show.
Church. Mass was celebrated          Perez, Guillermo Silva, Roberto      skewer the judgment of a compa-                                                                                                           The trial is expected to last five
                                     Silva and Javier Martinez Sr.        ny he said knew the popular                                                                                                           weeks.
                                         Special thanks to Dr. Ricardo    painkiller could be dangerous                                                                                                             About 20 million people took
                                     Cigarroa and Dr. Jose R. Garcia,     years before a study showed it                                                                                                        the anti-inflammatory drug pre-
                                     the personnel from the emer-         could double risk of heart attack                                                                                                     scribed for arthritis and acute
                                     gency room at Laredo Medical         or stroke. That study prompted                                                                           Photo by Pat Sullivan | AP   pain since it came on the market
                                     Center and Nurses from the           Merck to voluntarily remove it         Carol Ernst, right, and her daughter Shawna Sherrill, left, sit in the courtroom Thurs-        in 1999. In 2000, a study found
                                     Heart.                               from the market last year.             day in Angleton,Texas. Ernst’s case against Vioxx maker Merck Co. is the first of more         that some Vioxx users suffered
                                         Arrangements were under             In a much more subdued pres-        than 3,000 suits to go to trial.                                                               five times as many heart attacks
                                     the direction of Hillside Funeral    entation, Merck lawyer David                                                                                                          as users of the older painkiller
                                     Home, 310 Hillside Road.             Kiernan, who is also a surgeon,        half the potentially lethal stom-            n’t fill up the ATM machine for us,               naproxen, sold under the brand
                                                                          urged jurors to keep an open           ach bleeding that some patients              we’re running dry. It’s Vioxx or                  name Aleve.
                                                                          mind as Merck seeks to show the        got from traditional pain relievers          bust.”                                                In 2002, the FDA added warn-
                                                                          company didn’t rush a lucrative        like aspirin.                                    He said the company down-                     ings to Vioxx’s label. Continued
                                                                          drug to market and slip shoddy            Vioxx was tested in 58 clinical           played studies that raised con-                   research showed Vioxx doubled
                                                                          science past the U.S. Food and         trials involving 10,000 patients             cerns about Vioxx’s safety and                    the risk of heart attack or stroke if
                                                                          Drug Administration to pump up         before it went on the market, he             pushed the painkiller to a grow-                  taken for 18 months or longer,
                                                                          profits.                               said, far surpassing FDA testing             ing market of arthritis sufferers                 which prompted Merck to pull the
                                                                             “That charge could not be           recommendations.                             and their doctors to keep the bot-                drug.
               PETRONILA A. HERNANDEZ                                     more false,” he said.                     Buffeted by photos, graphics              tom line robust.                                      Lanier complained that some
                                                                             Ernst’s husband, Robert, a per-     and documents shown on a large                   “You watch what happens to                    Angleton residents had received
    Mrs. Petronila A. Hernandez,     (Rosa) Hernandez and Lucia           sonal trainer, died in his sleep       screen behind him, Lanier said               their studies. It will make you                   phone calls from pollsters claim-
beloved daughter, wife, mother,      (Victor) Garcia.                     four years ago of an arrhythmia,       former Merck CEO Ray                         sick,” Lanier said.                               ing to be Merck representatives
sister, grandmother and great-           She is also survived by broth-   or irregular heartbeat. He had         Gilmartin aimed to turn Merck                    He said Merck wined and                       asking if they had heard of the
grandmother, joined our Lord         ers, Cayetano (Altagracia) Her-      been taking Vioxx for about eight      into “an ATM machine that’s spit-            dined Robert Ernst’s doctor, Brent                case and whether Carol Ernst de-
in heaven Wednesday, July 13,        nandez and Guadalupe (Eloisa)        months to ease pain in his hands.      ting out money” by beefing up                Wallace, and targeted him and                     served any money.
2005, at the age of 70.              Hernandez; seven grandchil-             Lawyers from throughout the         sales with glitzy television ads for         many other doctors in a plan to                       “The hypocrisy of this makes
    She will be greatly missed by    dren, and four great-grandchil-      country associated with other          various drugs — including Vioxx,             push them to prescribe Vioxx. He                  me want to puke,” Lanier told re-
all whose lives she touched.         dren.                                Vioxx lawsuits packed the court-       which came on the market in                  said the company paid doctors to                  porters.
    She was preceded in death            A rosary will be recited by      room for hours of opening state-       1999.                                        let Merck sales representatives                       Jonathan Skidmore, a Merck
by her parents, Juan Hernandez       Deacon Anastacio Bernal at 7         ments — more than two hours af-           Vioxx was critical to Merck,              watch them write those prescrip-                  attorneys, said Merck wasn’t in-
and Manuela Delgado; daugh-          p.m. Friday, July 15, 2005, at       forded each side.                      Lanier alleged, because patents              tions.                                            volved in any polling and wanted
ter, San Juanita Hernandez;          Joe Jackson Heights Funeral             Kiernan said Vioxx has been in      on other lucrative drugs ran out in              The case in Angleton, a town                  to get to the bottom of the issue as
brother, Pablo Hernandez and         Chapels, 719 Loring at Cortez.       development since 1991 and cut in      2000 and 2001 and “if Vioxx does-            about 40 miles south of Houston,                  much as Lanier.
sister, Concepcion H. Esparza        Visitation will be from 5 to 9
and other immediate family           p.m.
members.
    Mrs. Hernandez is survived
by her loving husband, Bern-
                                         Funeral services will be Sat-
                                     urday, July 16, 2005, at 8:10 a.m.
                                     from Joe Jackson Heights Fu-
                                                                           Texas National Guard helps boy get surgery
abe Hernandez; and children,         neral Chapels to Our Lady of
Raul (Marina) Hernandez, Ele-        Guadalupe Catholic Church for                  By JUAN A. LOZANO            attention of soldiers with the 56th          by Texas Children’s Hospital and                  did. We had a great day (Wednes-
na (Pedro) Sauceda, Roberto          a holy Mass officiated by Father               ASSOCIATED PRESS             Brigade Combat Team, 36th In-                the Texas Army National Guard                     day) after we learned” the sur-
Moose Hernandez, Santos              Vrazel at 8:30 a.m.                                                         fantry Division of the Texas Na-             because they feared pictures of                   gery was successful.
                                         Interment will be held at the        HOUSTON — The father of a 7-       tional Guard when he was brought             the boy and his father might easi-                   Dr. Charles Fraser Jr. said Kad-
                                     family plot in the Catholic          year-old Iraqi boy Thursday nerv-      for treatment at the hospital at             ly identify them as targets for vio-              hem would still have to be seen by
                                     Cemetery.                            ously thanked the Texas soldiers       Tallil Air Force Base near                   lence when they return to Iraq in                 a cardiologist in the future to eval-
                                         The family encourages you        who helped his son come to Hous-       Nasiriyah.                                   about a month.                                    uate his progress. But Kadhem
                                     to sign the guest book online at     ton for a lifesaving operation.            The soldiers were able to                    But Jawad Kathem told the AP                  would have much more energy
                                     www.joejacksonheights.com.               “I am very grateful to every-      arrange for military transporta-             how he had struggled for months                   and he would be able to do things
                                         Arrangements are under the       body, to the American troops back      tion out of Iraq and sought private          to obtain a visa from the U.S. em-                other children could do. His sur-
                                     direction of Joe Jackson Heights     in Iraq, to all Houstonians and I’m    and corporate donations to pay               bassy in Kuwait while his son be-                 gery was designed to minimize the
                                     Funeral Chapels, 719 Loring at       very grateful to the doctors who       for Kadhem’s hospital, travel and            came weaker, unable to walk and                   need for more operations, he said.
                                     Cortez.                              did the surgery” this week, Jawad      other expenses.                              barely able to breathe.                              Fraser said he would not forget
                                                                          Kathem, a 33-year-old mechanic             The boy and his father arrived               Meanwhile, the soldiers with                  talking to Kadhem’s father after
                                                                          from southern Iraq, said in Arabic.    in Houston last week. Kadhem un-             the Texas Army National Guard in                  he told him the surgery was suc-
                                                                          He spoke to The Associated Press       derwent five-hour open heart sur-            Iraq raised money to help send                    cessful.
                                                                          through a translator.                  gery on Tuesday at Texas Chil-               Kadhem to Houston so he could                        “I don’t know if I’ve ever had a
                                                                              His son, Kadhem, began suf-        dren’s Hospital, the nation’s                be treated at Texas Children’s.                   thank you like I had from this fa-
                                                                          fering from a congenital heart de-     largest pediatric hospital.                  Army officials did not wish to                    ther. He grabbed me by the face,
                                                                          fect about eight months ago. The           By Thursday, Kadhem was                  identify the various donors who                   he kissed me all over the face, he
                                                                          abnormality was obstructing            alert, eating and recovering in the          helped Kadhem or how much                         kissed my hands and he fell down
                 MARIA LUISA MARTINEZ                                     blood flow to the lungs, prevent-      intensive care unit, his father said.        money was raised.                                 on the floor and kissed my feet,”
                                                                          ing his blood from being oxy-              “Today is a very happy day,”                 “All of us have children,” Lt.                he said. “I’ve never had such a
   Mrs. Maria Luisa Martinez,        Gilberto Martinez. She is also       genated and turning his skin a         said Jawad Kathem. Kadhem’s                  Col. Stephen Bentley, with the                    thing happen.”
beloved mother, grandmother          survived by 16 grandchildren,        blueish hue. If the defect were not    younger brother and two sisters              56th Brigade Combat Team, said                       Jawad Kathem said he plans to
and great-grandmother, went to       12 great-grandchildren and her       repaired, Kadhem might have            stayed with their mother in Iraq.            by telephone from Iraq during the                 throw a big party for his family and
be with our Lord on Tuesday,         sister, Paz Ramirez.                 died by his teen years.                    Jawad Kathem did not attend a            news conference. “It is very satis-               the U.S. soldiers who helped him
July 12, 2005, at the age of 82.         Mrs. Martinez will be greatly        The boy’s condition came to the    news conference held Thursday                fying we were able to do what we                  when he and his son return to Iraq.
   She was preceded in death         missed by all her family and
by her parents, Magdaleno            friends.
Ramirez and Maria Damian.
   Mrs. Martinez is survived by
her husband, Trinidad Mar-
                                         A rosary will be recited at 7
                                     p.m. Friday, July 15, 2005, at Joe
                                     Jackson Springfield Chapels,
                                                                            Rehnquist will stay as Supreme Court head
tinez and her children, Carlos       1900 Springfield. Visitation will
Martinez, Ma. Guadalupe Ser-         be from 5 to 9 p.m.                             By RON FOURNIER                                                                                                            “I’m confident the chief justice
na, Jesus (Ana Maria) Mar-               Funeral services will be Sat-              and GINA HOLLAND                                                                                                            would not come to this decision
tinez, Imelda (Roberto) Ochoa,       urday, July 16, 2005, at 8:10 a.m.             ASSOCIATED PRESS                                                                                                            unless he was convinced he could
Juanita (Eduardo) Castillo,          from Joe Jackson Springfield                                                                                                                                               lead the court in the dignified and
Ernestina (Abel) Hernandez,          Chapel to San Luis Rey Catholic          WASHINGTON — Squelching                                                                                                           efficient manner he has been.”
Raul (Cindy) Martinez,               Church for a holy Mass at 8:30       rumors of his retirement, Chief                                                                                                           Medical experts initially spec-
Trinidad Martinez Jr., and           a.m.                                 Justice William H. Rehnquist said                                                                                                     ulated that Rehnquist probably
                                         Interment will be held at the    Thursday he will continue head-                                                                                                       had the deadly anaplastic form of
                                     family plot in the Calvary           ing the Supreme Court despite his                                                                                                     thyroid cancer, based on the
                                     Catholic Cemetery.                   battle with thyroid cancer.                                                                                                           chemotherapy-radiation treat-
                                         The family encourages you            “I’m not about to announce my                                                                                                     ment. But now that seems less
                                     to sign the guest book online at     retirement,” he said in a statement                                                                                                   likely.
                                     www.joejacksonheights.com.           obtained by The Associated Press.                                                                                                         “The prognosis for that is so
                                         Arrangements are under the           “I want to put to rest the spec-                                                                                                  poor. Most patients succumb very
                                     direction of Joe Jackson Spring-     ulation and unfounded rumors of                                                                                                       quickly, within three to six
                                     field Chapels, 1900 Springfield.     my imminent retirement,” said                                                                                                         months,” said Dr. Mark Urken, a
                                                                          Rehnquist, 80. “I will continue to                                                                                                    cancer expert at Beth Israel Hos-
                                                                          perform my duties as chief jus-                                                                                                       pital in New York.
                                                                          tice as long as my health permits.”                                                                                                       It is more likely that Rehnquist
                                                                              Rehnquist issued the state-                                                                                                       has another more treatable type,
                                                                          ment hours after being released
                                                                                                                                                    REHNQUIST                                                   said Urken and other physicians
                                                                          from an Arlington, Va., hospital       sified after Rehnquist was hospi-               But outside of a handful of                    not involved in his treatment.
                                                                          after being treated for two days       talized. The White House was pro-            brief statements issued by the                        Dr. Kenneth Burman, a thyroid
                                                                          with a fever.                          ceeding with contingency plans to            court since October, Rehnquist                    specialist at Washington Hospital
                                                                              President Bush had not been        fill two vacancies, a prospect that          has said nothing publicly about                   Center, said other possibilities are
                DON PEDRO A. MONCADA                                      informed in advance about Rehn-        might have given Bush the political          his condition or prognosis. He had                papillary thyroid cancer or lym-
       January 18, 1910                        July 14, 2005              quist’ statement but the White         flexibility to please more than one          also said nothing about his plans                 phoma of the thyroid. People with
 Sandia El Grande, Nuevo Leon                  Laredo, Texas              House welcomed the chief jus-          constituency. Now that just one              on the bench despite the vigil kept               those types can be treated and live
                                                                          tice’s announcement.                   seat is vacant, Bush is likely to            by reporters and photographers                    for years without more problems.
   Don Pedro Alvarado Monca-                                                  “The chief justice is doing an     come under intense pressure from             outside his home.                                     Before Thursday evening,
da, 95, passed away Thursday,                                             outstanding job, and we are            his political base to nominate a                “I think this is going to put the              Rehnquist had said nothing in
July 14, 2005, in Laredo.                                                 pleased he will continue his great     hard-line conservative.                      speculation to rest,” said Edward                 public about his future until last
   Funeral services are pend-                                             service to the nation,” presidential        Still, this is the first vacancy of     Lazarus, a Los Angeles attorney                   week, when a reporter called out
ing with Hillside Funeral                                                 spokesman Scott McClellan said.        Bush’s presidency, and even one              and former Supreme Court clerk.                   to him outside his house to re-
Home. For information please                                                  His declaration scrambles an       new justice to the court has the             “He’s saying, ‘I’m here and I’m not               spond to retirement rumors.
call (956) 724-6060.                                                      unsettled situation on the high        potential to tip the balance on crit-        going anywhere.”                                  “That’s for me to know and you to
                                                                          court for the second time in less      ical issues such as abortion, affir-            Rehnquist gave no clue how                     find out,” Rehnquist replied.
                                                                          than two weeks. Justice Sandra         mative action and gay rights.                long he’ll remain on the bench,                       Unless another justice unex-
                                                                          Day O’Connor unexpectedly                   Rehnquist, who has been                 but observers said that’s not un-                 pectedly retires, Rehnquist’s an-
                                                                          stepped down earlier this month        through at least one round of                usual because justices rarely tip                 nouncement removes the imme-
                                                                          at a time when the White House,        chemotherapy and radiation, sur-             their hand.                                       diate possibility of a double
                                                                          the Senate and outside groups had      prised many people when he                      “This should allow the chief                   vacancy, which could have
                                                                          been preparing for the chief jus-      presided at Bush’s inauguration in           and the court to get on with their                changed Bush’s thinking in nom-
                                                                          tice to leave the court.               January and returned to the bench            business,” said Richard Garnett, a                inating someone to fill O’Connor’s
                                                                              Rumors of his departure inten-     in March, keeping a full schedule.           former law clerk under Rehnquist.                 seat.

				
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