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Alabama man says defective tissue transplanted in surgery

May 9, 2006 | AP

A Trussville man has filed a lawsuit saying he received defective tissue from a company implicated in a body parts theft scheme when he underwent surgery at a Birmingham hospital.

The federal lawsuit filed Friday on behalf of Frank D. Fife alleges he received defective tissue from Biomedical Tissue Services, a New Jersey company closed by the Food and Drug Administration. The lawsuit says he received the tissue, including tendons in his neck, during a 2004 surgery at Medical Center East.

Because of problems with the transplant material, Fife underwent surgery to have the tissue replaced, according to his attorney, E. Glenn Waldrop Jr.

Michael Mastromarino, owner of the tissue company, has been charged by the Brooklyn district attorney's office as part of a scheme to steal thousands of body parts and sell the unscreened tissue for profit.

The suit names as defendants Biomedical Tissue, Mastromarino and Joseph Nicelli, an embalmer. Efforts to reach them were unsuccessful Tuesday. Both men have pleaded not guilty in the Brooklyn case.

The Birmingham suit also names Regeneration Technologies Inc. of Alachua, Fla., a tissue processor, as a defendant. A company representative was not immediately available Tuesday.

Fife's lawsuit doesn't make any claims against Medical Center East or Fife's doctors.

"They were deceived every bit as much as Mr. Fife," said Waldrop.

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