Human Tainted Tissue

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WEAR-TV story 3/7/06, ABC Network Affiliate, Pensacola, FL A local woman has tested positive for HIV…and it could be the result of a product she received in a routine surgery.

The surgery took place at Sacred Heart Hospital one year ago…but the woman was only notified there might be a problem in January.
Channel Three’s Greg Neumann spoke with the woman and her attorney this afternoon.

The woman in question is 65 years old, has been married over 30 years and does not want to be identified…but says she wants someone to pay.

She thinks she contracted HIV from bone tissue that was illegally stolen from corpses.

She went in for a very common cervical fusion surgery last March…where doctors implanted a bone graft into her neck.

In October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a recall of certain bone, skin and ligament tissue.

And in January, the woman’s neurosurgeon sent her a letter notifying her some of that tissue may have been used in her surgery.
The tissue was harvested by a company in New Jersey called Biomedical Tissue Services.

That company is now being investigated for allegedly stealing tissue from corpses at a New York funeral home…skipping the mandatory disease screening process….then sending it onto a company called Regeneration Technologies for cleaning.
From there some of it went to Medtronic…a large distributor of such tissue.

Medtronic treated and processed the tissue…and sold it to Sacred Heart Hospital….and a doctor there finally implanted it into the woman.
She’s since had three blood tests, all paid for by Medtronic.

She tested positive for HIV on the first test, negative on the second, and is still awaiting the results of a third test.

In its recall announcement, the FDA states that while it believes the risks from these tissues are low because of the processing methods they undergo…the actual risk of infection is unknown.

Mike Papantonio, co-host of Air America Radio’s Ring of Fire, interviews attorney Jerry Parker about  the grisly trade in illegal body parts removed from stolen or “borrowed” corpses. Click here to listen.

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