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Bone Transplant - the Repercussions

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After having blood tests because her bone transplant might be contaminated, Christine was later denied mortgage insurance! Hadn't she gone through enough pain and suffering?

"After my bone transplant I purchased a house but have not been able to get mortgage insurance," says Christine Cox (not her real name) from Alberta, Canada. "I had to disclose these blood tests to my insurance company because, if I was to contract one of these diseases and lied to them, I could be in violation of my policy and my partner would not be protected.

Here is the kicker: I just turned 40, I'm healthy and in good shape; in other words, medically boring. I have been denied insurance. Right now I am living in a home without insurance. If something should happen to me, my mortgage won't be covered. At this point, this is my biggest issue. To date my tests have come back negative but who knows what might turn up later?

I had dental surgery in August 2005 to extend my lower jaw and the surgery was fine. In October 2005 my surgeon told me that I had been given tissue from a donor whose origin was unknown.

I signed a consent form at the time of surgery saying that I would be given bone tissue. That morning I was nervous and didn't know what I was signing; I never had surgery before and couldn't think straight. I don't even know if my doctor knew - it was just in the normal course of his day, so why would he suspect anything untoward?

Two months after my surgery, he told me that the source of the tissue was unknown and it had been collected from a cadaver. Under normal conditions, the history of the patient is known, and the cause of death. The tissue is then radiated but because this tissue was from an unknown source, I was at risk.

My doctor said the news was going to hit the papers that afternoon and he would do his best to protect my privacy - this is a small town and very few people in Canada were affected at this time.

I then had a phone call from the medical officer of health who explained that he would send a letter to my doctor informing him of the blood tests I would require. He suggested that I go to the city to have my blood work done. If I went to the lab where I worked and said I needed tests for sexually transmitted diseases, someone might talk. But in the end, I refused his offer and had it done in my town. As far as I know, I have been protected.

Nonetheless, I am very upset. Although I have kept this private, it has affected me; my insurance in particular. To date my tests have come back negative but it is always in my mind.

I also asked the medical officer of health about sexual practices - the implications. Am I putting my partner at risk if I have sexual relations? He said I could transmit a disease from the bone transplant if I contracted anything.

Some of these people [where the bone and tissue came from] died of cancer. Biometrics and funeral homes and who knows, lied on the death certificates. You cannot test for bone cancer. My surgeon said that if he could have given me another transplant, he would have. But if there is any damage, it would have already happened.

Now I am involved in a class action lawsuit. I have allowed my medical records to be released in order for tracking to take place. I hope my attorney will be able to find out where my tissue came from, who it came from, and know for sure what that person died of, and if I need to continue to be tested and for how long...

I would love someone to tell me I am in luck and the tissue came from a regular source, such as an accident or heart attack, or this person was a donor and consented to having tissue or bone placed in another person's body. Not someone who died from AIDS or cancer and their tissue was stolen.

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Tissue Transplant Information

If you or a loved one has suffered after having an improperly screened tissue transplant, please file a [tissue transplant] complaint with a lawyer for a free case evaluation.

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