In Rochester, New York, authorities unsealed a 179-count indictment against seven New York area funeral home employees (from Burger Funeral Home, Profetta Funeral Chapel, Serenity Hills Funeral Home) and Biomedical Tissue Services human tissue collection workers Thursday. The indictment contains many felony charges related to the theft of human bodies from graves and funeral homes, and the unlawful and unathorized harvesting of human bone and tissue from the deceased. Many family members were present in the courtroom when the indictment was delivered.
Following an FDA investigation in 2005, families who believed their loved ones were being cremated or buried by these funeral homes were shocked and disgusted to discover that the flesh and bones of their deceased relatives had been carved up and sold in the medical tissue marketplace like any other inanimate commodity. This week, criminal charges were finally filed against some of the people who are alleged to have committed these heinous acts.
In February of 2006, Dr. Michael Mastrimonio (president of Biomedical Tissue Services) and three other men were convicted of harvesting human tissue and selling and distributing it without consent. Among other concerns with the human tissue being harvest were the ages of the donor patients, the insufficient testing of tissue and bone which resulted in the implant of defective, diseased human tissue into recipient patients. Prison terms for convictions could range from ten to twenty years.
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