Things I am passionate about. Injustice, stupidity, intolerance, bigotry and small-mindedness. Oh and there might just be some humor to offset the whole thing.

Is there a doctor in the (jail) house?

Posted by morganwrites on October 11, 2007

This article makes me just about as pississippied as I’ve ever been.

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Three Philadelphia funeral directors led a scheme in which more than 1,ooo cadavers were dismembered in unsanitary conditions and the parts sold to doctors who implanted them in patients, a grand jury charged Thursday (10-2-07).

Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham released the grand jury’s report alleging the men made $3.8 million from the sale of body parts in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey between February 2004 and September 2005.

Accused are Louis Garzone, his brother Gerald Garzone and James McCafferty who ran a funeral and crematory business. The three permitted Michael Mastromarino, a disgraced former dentist, and a team of so-called cutters to remove body parts such as bones, skin and tendons in an unsanitary embalming room, the report found.

Thousands of people who needed, for example, to replace broken bones or repair torn tendons may have received parts from cadavers infected by HIV, hepatitis, sepsis and other diseases, the report said. It was not immediately clear if any of the recipients fell ill.

The scheme took tissue from 1,o77 bodies in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including 244 cadavers in Philadelphia funeral homes operated by the defendants.

The scheme, ‘took businesses normally associated with compassion and caring and perverted them into something ghoulish, greedy, dangerous and criminal.’ the report said.

In 2006, the Garzones closed their funeral homes and surrendered their licenses after the Pennsylvania Department of State said they may have permitted body parts to be removed from cadavers. The men did not admit wrongdoing.

At least five Philadelphia-area hospitals, and 41 across Pennsylvania, implanted tissue from Biomedical Tissue Services, the company run by Mastromarino, according to the report.

Bodies at the funeral homes often sat for days without refrigeration before the tissue was harvested. One corpse sat for 113 hours after death, violating a medical protocol that tissue must have be harvested within 15 hours of death to be safe for use in a living person, the report said.

The grand jury urged the strongest prosecution of the conspirators and recommended a series of measures including banning funeral homes from performing tissue recovery, making the theft of body parts a felony crime and requiring all tissue agencies to be licensed by the state.

This is so insane I don’t know where to start. Apparently there is no oversight in the State of Pennsylvania over funeral homes, tissue agencies and the doctors who operated using these suspect parts should be tossed. Has Pennsylvania contacted the hospitals that received these body parts to ascertain who may or may not have been given these infected tissues, bones, etc? I can’t go on, I think I’m getting a migraine.



4 Responses to “Is there a doctor in the (jail) house?”

  1. teri said

    my partner received some of the stolen bones, they were implanted in her neck. i started a website in december 2005 (when we found out) so that the recipients could find and share information about this attrocity. the FDA and CDC have basically told the recipients that there was “no harm done” to them. that the sterilization process performed on the bones made it impossible for disease to be transferred. i don’t think they know that for sure. if they knew this to be true… they would put a piece of bone that is diseased through the process and test it afterward to be sure. even then i would not believe it. the recipients are to be tested for communicable diseases one time after they find out! just once is being paid for by the processing company. if you come back negative they say “see told ya so” if you come back positive for infectious disease, they acuse you of getting it from other means. please visit the website, read everything you can stand to read and make your own judgement. some of the recipients have left their contact information if the new batch of people need someone to talk to about this. thanx for this blog, everyone needs to know about this…

  2. morganwrites said

    teri – I will visit your site and with your permission, will include additional information that your site might contain and post it on this site. I hope your partner is well and that from ours and others websites, we can put an end to this disgusting and atrocious matter. Take care.

  3. teri said

    thanx morgan, that would be great! the more familiar people become with this story, the more regulations and watchdog groups there will be. you would think in this day and age that a person could at least die in peace… not pieces all over the world! this is not isolated to just the eastern seaboard… pieces of bone have been implanted in people in california, oregon and washington too. there also are people in canada filing lawsuits against bts! you would not believe the gravity of this atrocity.

  4. Teri – No problem. Thanks for the update – isn’t it sad that when this story broke it was news and after that it seems to have fallen through the cracks. Be well.

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