Linda Wargon of Goshen, Northern Indiana had three discs removed in her neck and had them replaced with a "donor" bone. "I didn't know where the bone came from and didn't ask - I didn't know that I should ask. I put all my trust in the medical field," says Wargon.
One year later, in February, 2006, she got a letter from her surgeon saying that she needed to get blood tests for HIV, AIDS, Syphilis and Hepatitis B & C. Naturally, she was scared, especially knowing that HIV may not show up in a blood test for several months. "Even though the tests were negative, I'm concerned, and have no idea why I am not supposed to get tested again for HIV," she says.
Why did it take so long for Wargon's surgeon to notify her? The news about bone and tissue being sold illegally was made public months before February, 2006. The first recall of bone and tissue by the FDA was last October, 2005.
"The hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where I had my surgery, didn't know. I was shocked when I first read the letter from my surgeon. I couldn't believe how it can happen and how it could happen to me!
"Then I thought, 'How could the owner of Biomedical Tissue Services do this'? It is a weird feeling to know I am involved, to have someone's bones in me that could have been dug up from a grave, could have had cancer or AIDS.
"I remember the doctor saying there was two ways I could have this surgery, either with my own bone or a donor bone. He said a donor bone was a better way to go; it would be a much faster recovery time."
Little did he know that having a donor bone might take a lifetime to recover. The term "donor" is not really what we think of as a donor: we think of a donor as someone who gives consent. "The person whose bone I have did not sign any consent form. Biomedical was using bodies and changing the death certificate, changing both cause of death and age," says Wargon.
"I just hope this bone I have will last. If it is from an old person I might have to go through surgery again. I would go through the surgery again if necessary but I'll opt for my own bone.
"I have a lot of articles on this. It's creepy. It is like an Edgar Allen Poe horror story. When you think about it, this is so bizarre. And now, my only recourse is a lawsuit," says Wargon.
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|. By Jane Mundy|
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