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Bone and Tissue Transplant: Both Sides Suffer

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Donna had a choice when she had neck surgery: replace it with a piece of bone from her hip (longer healing time) or bone from a cadaver. She chose the latter. "It freaked me out a bit at the time, but not nearly as much as it does now," she says. I don't know where these bones came from, but money can make people do anything."

Knowing what she does now, Donna Giles (not her real name), from Clear Lake, northern Iowa certainly regrets her decision.

"I want to know who the bone in my neck belonged to, but I don't know if I can find out. My friend is a nurse at the hospital where I had my surgery and she is looking into it. I am very worried, not only because I just had to go through these tests for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis, but what about the other family, the loved ones of the person whose bone I have? I feel awful for them, knowing their loved one's parts could be scattered all over the country, not knowing, never giving permission.

I can't help but think that, if they did this to my sister for example when she passed away, I would want to know where her body parts were. It is creepy. I can't imagine what their families are going through. I believe when you are dead your spirit goes up, but if it were one of my family, I would want to know who had her, who had all the pieces. Maybe these families want to know who has their loved one's bones, and I want to know.

I don't know where they were actually taking the bones from these bodies but I do know the bone I got was recovered from Biomedical Tissue Services, processed by Regeneration technologies and received at Mercy Medical center, north Iowa from the supplier Medtronic. I can't understand that with this cleaning process, how could they just take bones and tissues without consent ?

I was told that, when I get a cadaver bone, it is purchased from a bone and tissue bank. In this case it went through three other facilities before winding up at Biomedical. It makes you wonder, with such a thorough cleaning process, why these people aren't screened to begin with.

Although my neck has gotten better since my surgery one year ago, it doesn't feel right, I have a constant ache; maybe I was given an old bone...

Also, It isn't right that they are just giving me a one-time test. And another thing: from the time I received this bone in February 2005 to the time I got the letter to get tested in March 2006, why did it take such a long time to get hold of me? Because they knew about this 'incident' long before I knew. I have a boyfriend. What if I now have HIV, God forbid, and transferred it to him? Or what if I cut myself and transferred hepatitis to my son? They should have informed me sooner. With these bones and tissues, are the laws that lax that these people can get away with it ?
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To answer one of Donna's questions, some diseases can't be detected right away; some take up to three months to show up in your system. By waiting for three months or longer to inform those people who need testing, the companies responsible may only need to test once for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis, thereby saving money. They haven't taken into account the risk of passing these diseases onto others.

READ MORE ABOUT Drugs/Medical

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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