Medtronic roped into body-snatching lawsuit

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A Texas man has filed a lawsuit against Medtronic, a medical technology company, for fraud and negligence in an alleged “body-snatching” scheme that he said left him with a stolen piece of bone in his neck.

According to the lawsuit, in September 2005, doctors at Baylor All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, removed a portion of a cervical disc from James Livingston, 44, of Weatherford, Texas, and replaced it with a bone graft supplied by Regeneration Technologies. Several months later, Regeneration Technologies recalled the transplanted bone due to its connection to a wider investigation into stolen and tainted body parts that made their way into hospitals throughout the country.

Since those 2005 charges, authorities have indicted the owner of Biomedical Tissues Services, former dentist Michael Mastromarino, 44, of Fort Lee, N.J., and several others on charges they removed bone and tissue from more than 1,000 human bodies without permission, and sold the body parts without proper screening for diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and cancer.

Livingston continues to undergo testing to determine whether he has contracted any diseases.

Livington’s lawsuit alleges that Biomedical Tissue Services sold bone and tissue to Medtronic, Regeneration Technologies and Spinalgraft Technologies, which then sold them to hospitals.