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Illicit body parts from cadavers used for transplant

Three New Jerseyans who got bone transplants from tissue that may have been illegally harvested from New York funeral-home corpses have tested positive for hepatitis // and syphilis, their lawyer said.

All of them underwent surgery at Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers Point, N.J., and claim to have been infected through a body-part-snatching scandal being investigated by the Brooklyn DA's Office. Each has tested positive for both diseases within the last two weeks.

The lawyer, Andrew D'Arcy, said his firm has received more than 100 calls from possible victims since doctors began urging transplant patients to be tested for HIV, hepatitis and more.

Hundreds of people who received transplants via Michael Mastromarino`s company, Biomedical Tissue Services Ltd. of Fort Lee, N.J., are being tested after the news broke out.

It was said the company failed repeatedly to gain donor consent and forged papers detailing the medical condition of the deceased.

D’Arcy’s said his firm will file lawsuits against the company on behalf of the three patients, and that it has already filed suits against Biomedical Tissue Services for two transplant recipients who have not tested positive for an infectious disease. The lawsuits allege the transplant material was not properly screened and fraudulently obtained, the Daily News said.

A grand jury has been hearing evidence against at least a half-dozen funeral homes and Biomedical Tissue on allegations that they conspired to sell stolen body parts.

Authorities believe hundreds of corpses, including that of "Masterpiece Theater" host Alistair Cooke, were cut up without permission in funeral parlors citywide to remove bone, skin and tendons, which were then sold.


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