A New Jersey-based organization, Biomedical Tissue Services has been accused of stealing HIV infected body parts from a funeral home in Brooklyn and distributing it to various hospitals without testing it.
A woman is said to have contracted HIV following transplantation of bone tissue, according to lawyers who have filed a legal case against the company. The victim is believed to have contracted HIV following cervical fusion surgery (bone graft implantation into the neck) that had taken place last March at Sacred Heart Hospital, Pensacola.
The New York based company is said to have skipped routine screening, and sent the unscreened body parts to another company, Regeneration Technologies for cleaning purpose. The owner of the company, Michael Mastromarino has stated that he is innocent and not involved in any corruption, illegal organ trade, forgery, opening graves and illegitimate dissection.
The controversial tissue was sent to a large-scale distributor of such tissue, Medtronic. Following pre-treatment and tissue processing, the tissue was sold to Sacred Heart Hospital. The Food and Drug Administration authority has recalled specific skin, bone and ligament tissue, in October last year.
The woman who has now lodged a case against the company was intimated by her neurosurgeon that some part of the tissue could have been used for the surgery. Following notification, the woman underwent three Medtronic sponsored AIDS test. The first test came out positive and the second one negative. The result of the third test is yet to be released.
'What we do know at this point is, that after complying with all of their requirements, she has tested positive for HIV, and that is a dramatic and unique problem right now,' said Marcus Michles, the woman's attorney. The actual risk associated with such tissue transplants is unknown, although it is believed that the risk is low owing to pre-processing methods.
The HIV infection status of other recipients who have received the tissue is unknown at the moment. Recipients of the tissue in Oklahoma and Indianapolis regions have been notified regarding the issue.