Stolen Corpses Body Tissue Leads to Medical Crisis

Stolen Corpses Body Tissue Leads to Medical Crisis

The pending case of the allegedly stolen body parts used in surgeries throughout the United States and abroad has left hundreds anxious, wondering if they may have received the contaminated tissue.   Among them is Heather Augustin who underwent a neck surgery procedure a year ago to place two compressed discs in her neck.  The patient had previously suffered from numbness and tingling in her arms, which was alleviated by the procedure.

However, six months later, Augustin along with many other bone and tissue transplant patients received an unsettling phone call from her doctor notifying her that the bone fragment use in her surgery may have been stolen from a corpse without testing for diseases.  

“I was just in shock and freaked out.  It was to the point where I’m thinking, ‘All I did was go get my neck fixed and now I have to go get tested for AIDS, hepatitis and syphilis,’” commented the 42-year-old woman.  

Thus far, seven federal class-action lawsuits have been filed against the Biomedical Tissue Services in New Jersey, who is responsible for the stolen tissue, and hundreds may still be to come.  Lawyers handling the cases claim to have received hundreds of phone calls from concerned patients in 34 different states, England and Canada who believe they may have received the contaminated tissues.  
Andrew J. D’Arcy, an attorney representing Augustin has expressed his serious concerns over the case.  “A clean result now doesn’t mean it’s a clean result six months from now.  Unfortunately, a lot of people are being sold a bag of goods by the medical community that they’re low-risk, so don’t worry about it,” comment D’Arcy.  

Michael Mastromarino, president of the Biomedical Tissue Services however pled not guilty to the allegations that his company shipped over 1,000 untested stolen corpse body parts for medical use.  To the best of his knowledge, Mastriomarino’s attorney Mario Gallucci reported that his client turned the bone tissues over the distributors, Regeneration Technologies Inc., who then sterilized then.  

“He feels sorry for these people, that they’re living this nightmare,” Gallucci commented.  “But he also knows they were sterilized.  If they weren’t, then that was the fault of the distributors who were sterilizing the tissue and cleaning it.”  

To date, 11 federal suits have been filed against Regeneration Technologies in New Jersey, for distributing the allegedly stolen and contaminated parts.  

Attorneys representing plaintiffs in the stolen body parts case have declared the situation a medical crisis. “It’s crazy that it’s gotten to this,” claims Claudine Homolash, a Philadelphia attorney.  

As many as ten people affected by the stolen corpse tissue, have already tested positive for hepatitis C. All people involved are being advised by the Food and Drug Administration to be tested for AIDS and syphilis.  Unfortunately though according to attorneys, the method of spreading the word regarding the contaminated parts has been less than effective.  Doctors and hospitals have had the primary responsibility of notifying patients of the risk.  “It’s just kind of ad hoc as to how people find out, “ added Homolash.  

The FDA shut down the Biomedical Tissue Services in October, given mounting evidence of the scandal.  Many are hoping that this tragedy will spark more government involvement in this field of medicine with has historically been largely unregulated.  

“I want some regulations to come out of this- I want to make sure other people don’t have to go through this,” said a distraught Augustin.  “Because it’s not over for me.  Who’s to say that in 10 years something might not show up?”

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