Boning Up in Fort Worth, Baby

Categories: Crime

A man from Weatherford has filed suit today against Meditronic -- "the global leader in medical technology [for] alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life for millions of people around the world" -- claiming the damnedest thing: "body-snatching." The full release is after the jump, but the opening paragraph is enough to get me interested:

FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas man has filed a lawsuit against the billion-dollar medical technology company Medtronic Inc. for fraud and negligence in a "body-snatching" scheme that left him with a stolen piece of bone in his neck.
C'mon, that hasn't happened to you? --Robert Wilonsky

Texas Man Sues Medtronic in "Body-Snatching" Case

Patient received stolen piece of bone during neck surgery procedure

FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas man has filed a lawsuit against the billion-dollar medical technology company Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:MDT) for fraud and negligence in a "body-snatching" scheme that left him with a stolen piece of bone in his neck.

In addition to Minneapolis, Minn.-based Medtronic, the complaint filed in Supreme Court of the State of New York also names as defendants 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.

In September 2005, doctors at Baylor All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth removed a portion of a cervical disc from James Livingston, 44, of Weatherford, Texas, and replaced it with a bone graft supplied by Regeneration Technologies.

Several months later, Regeneration Technologies recalled the transplanted bone due to its ties to a wider investigation into stolen and tainted body parts that made their way to hospitals around the country.

Since then, authorities have indicted the owner of Biomedical Tissues Services, former dentist Michael Mastromarino, 44, of Fort Lee, N.J., and several others on charges they removed bone and tissue from more than 1,000 human bodies without the families' permission, and then sold the body parts without proper screening for diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and cancer.

Mr. Livingston will continue to undergo testing to determine whether he has contracted these or other diseases.

Biomedical Tissue Services sold bone and tissue to Medtronic, Regeneration Technologies and Spinalgraft Technologies, which then sold them to hospitals.

"To say this is ghoulish or ghastly just isn't strong enough," says attorney John David Hart of the Law Offices of John David Hart in Fort Worth, who represents Mr. Livingston. "This is an unconscionable example of corporate profit over patient safety."

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