Columbia-based University of Missouri Health Care's Mizzou BioJoint Center is facing at least 11 medical malpractice lawsuits as former patients allege the procedures they received at the facility failed.
Mizzou BioJoint Center's surgeries to treat knee osteoarthritis — called osteochondral allograft — replaces damaged parts of the knee with bone and cartilage from deceased organ donors, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune. The procedure aims to offer an alternative to total knee replacement. In 2016, Columbia Mayor Brian Treece marketed the procedure in a program to promote medical tourism.
Eleven lawsuits involving 17 patients allege medical malpractice and negligence — among other charges — against Missouri Orthopaedic Institute medical director James Cook, PhD, and orthopedic surgeon James Stannard, MD.
Here is a timeline of events so far:
The first lawsuit is filed in March. An active duty U.S. Army solider allegedly underwent two failed surgeries and then had a total knee replacement at Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital in Columbia.
The second lawsuit claimed that a patient's implants became infected and required surgeries and intravenous antibiotics to control the infection. The suit claims that Dr. Stannard suggested a second biojoint procedure, but the patient sought a second opinion and had a total knee replacement instead.
A third patient filed a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice and misleading advertising, as he was not made aware that the procedure was "experimental."
In January, MU was ordered to comply with discovery requests in the cases of several former patients. Attorneys for university curators argued that the Merchandising Practices Act doesn't apply to curators as the MU is a public institution. They also claimed that plaintiffs named the curators to evade state medical malpractice caps, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune. Allegations that the university violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act are dismissed in April.
The number of former patients filing lawsuits against the Mizzou BioJoint Center climbed to 17, all of whom named Drs. Cook and Stannard and claimed that their procedures failed.
One patient was 16-years-old when she had her first biojoint procedure in 2013. She allegedly saw Dr. Stannard for a second failed biojoint procedure, before she sought a second opinion. She was later diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis, according to The Mexico Ledger.
In September, a spokesperson for MU Health Care said that patients were properly informed of risks associated with the procedure and that the health system stands by the Biojoint team.
In February, another lawsuit was filed, accusing Dr. Stannard of negligence after a former patient claimed he was not told that his procedure had a failure rate of 86 percent. The suit also accuses Dr. Stannard of allowing Dr. Cook to perform part of the surgery without medical direction or supervision.
With at least 11 cases from 17 different plaintiffs, attorneys for the plaintiffs are seeking to consolidate the malpractice suits against the Mizzou Biojoint Center.
The cases are ongoing and trial dates are yet to be set.
Editor's note: This story will be updated as more information becomes available.