2 October 2007 at 1:03:51 PM
Can you imagine anything more awful than going in for surgery for a neck problem, getting a bone implant, healing up nicely and then hearing that the BONE IS BEING RECALLED? BECAUSE IT WAS HARVESTED ILLEGALLY FROM A CORPSE? By a man who paid funeral homes to carve up the corpses and then sell the body parts.
About five months after the surgery, out of the blue, he received a phone call from his doctor saying the bone had been recalled.
Livingston discovered a harvesting company extracted bones and tissues from corpses illegally without consent from the donors’ families.
Since that time, Livingston researched the matter on his own for “peace of mind.”
His investigation led to discovering the donor died from cardiac failure. And although his path was halted, his journey would be far from over.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act laws deterred him from finding out further personal information about his donor.
AND, it wasn't just him. It's part of a big trade in illegal body parts from a number of companies that sent those parts to hospitals all over the country.
Jennifer Green, director of media relations for Livingston’s lawyer, said Livingston filed a lawsuit against the billion-dollar medical technology company, Medtronic Inc., for fraud and negligence in the “body-snatching” scheme which left him with the stolen piece of bone in his neck.
The complaint filed in the New York Supreme Court also names other defendants as Memphis, Tenn.-based Sofamor Danek, Inc., Knoxville, Tenn.-based Spinalgraft Technologies, Inc., Alachua, Fla.-based Regeneration Technologies, Inc., Fort Lee, N.J.-based Biomedical Tissue Services, Ltd., Michael Mastromarino and Joseph Nicelli.
Regeneration Technologies recalled the transplanted bone due to its ties to a wider investigation involving stolen and tainted body parts, which were distributed to numerous hospitals nationwide.
Michael Mastromarino, 44, a former dentist of Fort Lee, N.J., along with others, were indicted on charges of removing bone and tissue from more than 1,000 human bodies without the families’ permission, and then selling the parts without proper screening for diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and cancer.
A press release from Hart’s office stated Biomedical Tissue Services sold bone and tissue to Medtronic, Regeneration Technologies and Spinalgraft Technologies, which in turn, sold them to hospitals.
“To say this is ghoulish or ghastly just isn’t strong enough,” Hart said in the release. “This is an unconscionable example of corporate profit over patient safety.”
and, Ugh. Remember Alistair Cooke, of Masterpiece Theatre? He's supposed to be one of those corpses that parts were taken from.
After the New York investigation, five tissue processors that received human parts from Biomedical Tissue Services issued voluntarily recalls. Medtronic, a distributor that received the parts, also issued a voluntary recall.
Medtronic has voluntarily recalled about 16,000 bones nationwide, and tests on 12,000 to 13,000 people show no infectious disease that is traceable to the recalled tissue, spokesman Bert Kelly said.
Although Livingston's blood tests have shown no evidence of disease, he said he is worried about getting sick years from now. Knowing that the bone went through a sterilization process is of little comfort.
"My biggest concern is: Nobody really knows," Livingston said. "And there's a part of me that really does want to give that bone back."
P.S. Medtronics seems to have other problems afoot as well, including being questioned by Senator Grassley about kickbacks to doctors that use their spinal devices.
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1 - Patricia Pondoff
24 Jun 2009 @ 10:19:08 AM
The harvesting of bone for grafts and fusions is a common practice in the medical field. However the receiver expects the bone to have been donated willingly and tested for infectious diseases. I personally chose to use my own bone in my surgery for neck fusion, they remove the bone from the front hip, however, the doctors never tell you that your going to look like you've been beaten with a rubber boat paddle. The bruising extended from the front of my hip to the entire cheek of my backside and was far more painful than the neck surgery and took far longer to heal than my neck did. But I would still recommend using your own bone because there is less chance of your body rejecting it and you'll never get a letter saying it's been recalled. LOL
2 - James
24 Jun 2009 @ 11:36:31 AM
Gotta love those doctors, when I had this recent stent surgery all they talked about was a small hole nothing about the 12 square inches of bruises. Then the doctor comes in and without warning rips off 3 yards of bandages removeing the rest of my hair. It's minor and I'm alive to complain but gee. A hospital analyst friend of mine allways says "they can have my parts for free when they work for free".
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