IU School of Law-Indianapolis Expert Calls for Changes in Tissue Transplant Industry
It’s time to put limits on tissue recovery, IU School of Law-Indianapolis Professor Robert Katz said in a WTHR Channel 13 television interview that aired in late November.
Channel 13 investigative reporter Sandra Chapman interviewed Katz as part of a news series on Indiana tissue transplant patients who have received “unsafe, stolen” tissue.
Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration notified healthcare professionals that Biomedical Tissue Services (BTS), a for-profit tissue recovery firm based in Fort Lee, N.J. may not have properly screened donors for infectious diseases. This led to the largest nationwide recall of donated tissue. But the recall was not early enough to protect the health of an Indiana man interviewed by Chapman.
The state of New York had filed charges against BTS, alleging BTS recovered bones, skin, heart valves, and other tissues from hundreds of corpses without the relatives’ consent, and forged consent forms. The state also charged BTS with falsifying records to make unsuitable tissues – those recovered from donors who were too old or who died of cancer or infectious diseases – appear suitable for transplantation.
Katz has studied the tissue transplantation industry for several years. He believes that the BTS case supports his proposal that only charitable nonprofit organizations be permitted to obtain a deceased’s relatives’ consent for donation, and to recover or supervise the recovery of donated tissue.
Katz’s publications include the article “The Re-Gift of Life: Can Charity Law Prevent For-Profit Firms from Exploiting Nonprofit Tissue Banks and Donated Tissue,” in the spring 2006 DePaul Law Review.
For additional details on the recent Katz interview, go to http://www.wthr.com/Global/story.asp?s=5709574 .