News | May 15, 2007

Body Parts Scam Tops 450 Cases

May 16, 2007 — More than 450 people nationwide now claim they received illegally obtained and possibly diseased body parts from a New Jersey-based scheme, according to court documents.
The FDA has said it's concerned that the bone and tissue could be infected with the AIDS virus, syphilis and hepatitis, but the risk of infection is small.

The FDA, which did not return requests for comment, has not said whether any patients have ailments linked to the tissue, nor has it revealed how many people received it.

However, a document filed in a South Dakota lawsuit states that 13 plaintiffs nationwide claim they have contracted a disease.

The South Dakota case was brought by Charles Geigle of Oliver County, N.D., who claims he received transplanted bone tissue that might be infected.

He had back surgery April 30, 2004, at Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls, according to his complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

Defendants in the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, have asked for a delay so they can argue that it should be transferred to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, which coordinates identical federal civil lawsuits into one jurisdiction.

Of the 451 cases filed so far, 189 are in federal courts and 134 of them have been transferred to the panel, court documents state. Two other South Dakota cases are among those that have been transferred.

"The need for coordination of this national litigation is compelling. The multiple proposed classes, as well as the individual actions, are overlapping. The complaints contain virtually identical allegations in many cases," according to one document in Geigle's case.

He received a letter in December 2005 from a doctor telling him the bone tissue he received might have been illegally acquired and that he could be at risk of getting a disease.

The supplier was Biomedical Tissue Services, a now-defunct Fort Lee, N.J., company owned by former dentist Michael Mastromarino, who made millions of dollars from the scheme, prosecutors have said.

He and three other men are accused of secretly removing skin, bone and other parts from up to 1,000 bodies from funeral homes without the families' permission.

"When a funeral was scheduled to be 'open casket,' harvested bone taken from the deceased was replaced with PVC pipe and other objects so the bodies would still appear normal during the funeral proceedings," court documents state.

The men also changed the names of the donors, medical records, death certificates and other information "in order to conceal the lifestyle and medical history of the donors," the documents said.

BTS supplied bone, skin and tendons to various processors that in turn provided the body parts to distributors for common procedures such as dental implants and hip replacements. Some of the tissue came from bodies that were not eligible to be donors because of age, disease or illness, according to Geigle's lawsuit.

Because of that, Geigle said he and perhaps thousands of others now live in fear they or their spouses have been exposed to a deadly disease. He seeks more than $5 million in damages for patients who received BTS tissue from 2002 to 2005.

Geigle received bone that was processed and packaged by Regeneration Technologies Inc., a Delaware corporation, and distributed by SpinalGraft Technologies of Tennessee, a division of Minneapolis-based distributor Medtronic Inc. -- all of which are listed as defendants.

The FDA ordered BTS to stop operating because of the serious nature of the violations and ordered a recall of all products, which the other defendants complied with, the lawsuit states.

The FDA and Centers for Disease Control also urged people who received BTS tissue be tested for infectious disease.

Related Content

Artificial Intelligence Performs As Well As Experienced Radiologists in Detecting Prostate Cancer
News | Artificial Intelligence | April 18, 2019
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) system to...
Oxipit Introduces Multilingual Support for ChestEye AI Imaging Suite
News | Artificial Intelligence | April 16, 2019
The CE-certified ChestEye artificial intelligence (AI) imaging suite by Oxipit is now available in seven European...
iCAD Appoints Stacey Stevens as President
News | Radiology Business | April 16, 2019
iCAD Inc. recently announced that Stacey Stevens has been named president. As president, Stevens will have expanded...
Enlitic Closes Series B Funding for Artificial Intelligence Solutions for Radiologists
News | Artificial Intelligence | April 08, 2019
Radiology artificial intelligence (AI) company Enlitic announced the close of its $15 million Series B financing round...
iCAD Highlighting ProFound AI for Tomosynthesis at 2019 SBI Annual Symposium
News | Computer-Aided Detection Software | April 04, 2019
iCAD announced it will present its latest artificial intelligence (AI) software solution for digital breast...
A smart algorithm developed by iCAD

A smart algorithm developed by iCAD outlines and scores a suspicious lesion seen in an image created using digital breast tomography. Displayed is the probability calculated by the algorithm that the outlined area includes a cancerous lesion. Image courtesy of Emily Conant, M.D.

Feature | Artificial Intelligence | April 03, 2019 | Greg Freiherr
  Editor's Note: This article was updated following the SBI symposium.  
Siemens Healthineers Debuts AI-Rad Companion Chest CT
News | Artificial Intelligence | January 25, 2019
Siemens Healthineers presented its first intelligent software assistant for radiology, the AI-Rad Companion Chest CT,...
Telerad Tech Launches MammoAssist AI Software
Technology | Computer-Aided Detection Software | January 25, 2019
Telerad Tech recently announced the launch of MammoAssist, a new artificial intelligence (AI) product to analyze and...
Videos | Artificial Intelligence | December 13, 2018
ITN Editor Dave Fornell and ITN Contributing Editor Greg Freiherr share their insights on the vendors showing...
FDA Clears iCAD's ProFound AI for Digital Breast Tomosynthesis
Technology | Mammography | December 07, 2018
iCAD Inc. announced clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their latest, deep-learning, cancer...