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Personal injury solicitor news 26/02/2007

Bodysnatching scandal results in compensation claims

UK personal injury solicitors have announced that they are helping a number of people to make no win no fee compensation claims following a gruesome bodysnatching drama originating in the United States.

It has been revealed that some body parts transplanted into patients during medical procedures in British hospitals may have been taken illegally from corpses in the US.

More than a thousand body parts are believed to have been stolen from mortuaries in New York and sold on to a New Jersey tissue recovery firm called Biomedical Tissue Services. The company then exported some of the body parts to the United Kingdom and it is believed that the bones of the late broadcaster Alistair Cooke were among them.

That those who later discovered they had been transplanted with the stolen body parts decided to recruit personal injury solicitors to pursue compensation claims is by no means a surprise. Some of the body parts are thought to have been diseased and it is known that Alistair Cooke's bones are likely to have been affected by the cancer that killed him.

Bones that were infected were able to travel across the Atlantic because the usual screening and suitability checks that take place on body parts destined for transplants was not carried out.

Because of this, and because Biomedical Tissue Services were alleged to have forged documents allowing them to obtain access to the corpses, the firm was shut down last year by the US Food & Drug Administration.

When the scandal was revealed, British healthcare bosses issued a recall on all body parts that had been imported to the country by the American firm but it was found that some had already been implanted into oblivious patients.

Among those who found themselves the victims of the bodysnatching scandal and decided to contact personal injury solicitors was Suzanne Green who was treated for a fractured spine and ankle injuries at the University Hospital of Wales in 2005.

She told reporters, "I can't believe what is happening, it's horrific. I did not even know I had received a bone graft during my operation until September. I am now in torment wondering about what the long term implications will be."

Mrs Green is by no means the only person who has been affected by the plundered body parts and one of the personal injury solicitors pursuing the no win no fee claims said, "In total, 25 hospitals across the UK have been identified as having received illegally harvested body parts.

"At present we do not know exactly how many people have been treated with these bone products, although we are acting for several clients who have received potentially contaminated bone implants."

The compensation claims continue.