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Furious with the Makers of Vioxx

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"If it wasn't for my proximity to the Hershey Medical Center, I wouldn't be here to tell you about my experience with Vioxx," says Dan DeGeatano of Hershey, PA.

Vioxx victim"I had back surgery and was prescribed Vioxx for pain management — but it was several months later when I had the first sign that something was wrong. It was Thursday at work and I told my co-workers that I felt like hell. I didn't make it into work the next day because I could hardly move. By Saturday morning I couldn't stand up without passing out. My wife is a nurse and luckily she was home that morning: my stool looked like black tar and she knew that was a bad sign. She called the ambulance: my body was shaking and at that point I knew I was in trouble.

Thank God the ambulance took a few minutes to rush me to ER. I was given eight units of blood and stayed there four days; nurses watching me without a break. It was June 2004, six months after I was prescribed Vioxx. I had a major gastrointestinal (GI) bleed and the doctors repaired two active leaks in my duodenum area, just under my stomach. Essentially I was digesting my blood.

While I was in the hospital the doctors told me they repair upper GI bleeds caused by Vioxx frequently. I was floored! They also said that I could have brain and heart damage — my blood pressure was so low when I was admitted that I actually saw the white light — another five minutes and it would have been all over for me.

Somebody must have been watching over me that day. I was only 52 and I had good health before this — definitely not any blood pressure problems. I have been to the doctors more since this has happened than in my entire life.

At the time I was furious with Vioxx but didn't do anything about it — until now. I was into survival mode only and coming out of the shock of the experience. But the day this happened was the last day I took Vioxx.

There is no way Merck should have been allowed to keep Vioxx on the market with side effects such as these. I went to a cardiologist a few weeks after I left the hospital for a check-up and while I was waiting, I looked up Vioxx in his Physician's Drug Reference book — the bible of pharmaceutical drugs. I was shocked. It talked about how Vioxx causes GI bleeds, right there in black and white. But I wasn't given this information from the doctor who prescribed it nor the pharmacist who dispensed it.

When I confronted my pain management specialist (who originally prescribed it) he couldn't believe it — he was shocked as well. 'I don't think that could happen.' were his exact words.

Astounding. I think some of these doctors get kick-backs from the manufacturers. Vioxx can help thousands of people but it has killed thousands. The bad doesn't outweigh the good. Even though my two-year window to join a class action lawsuit might be up, I haven't given up. There's gotta be a whole lot more people out there who have been injured in this same manner. "

On September 30, 2004 Merck announced the voluntarily worldwide withdrawal of Vioxx®.

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