The number of patients suing two MU doctors with Mizzou BioJoint Center and the UM System Board of Curators has grown to 21 after a new lawsuit was filed on behalf of four patients May 22.
A motion to consolidate all of the lawsuits for pretrial purposes was granted by 13th Circuit Judge J. Hasbrouck Jacobs on Tuesday.
Todd Hendrickson, one of the attorneys representing the patients, said, "We’re obviously pleased that Judge Jacobs agreed that consolidation was appropriate under these circumstances. We believe it will expedite the cases and assist us in obtaining necessary materials from the defendants and the University."
A previous lawsuit that included allegations of medical malpractice against James Stannard and James Cook was filed this past February.
The first lawsuit was filed in March 2018 on behalf of Daniel Draper. Draper was active duty in the U.S. Army at the time of his initial procedure. Draper's lawsuit alleged negligence during a knee surgery and that Draper was not made aware that the surgeries were experimental. The lawsuit alleges that this negligence led to Draper losing the ability to continue his career in the military and meant he could no longer live independently.
The new lawsuit filed May 22 alleges that four additional patients were not made aware that the surgery they were advised to undergo “had a failure rate as high as 86%,” according to the lawsuit.
Two of the patients were minors at the beginning of their treatment at the center.
Mizzou BioJoint Center's website doesn’t make success rate claims for its procedures. The website states: “Because surgeries done at the Mizzou BioJoint Center are based on improvements to the traditional techniques, we do not have 10-year data on effectiveness yet, but we hope to continually improve the success rate with our innovative approaches and technologies.”
Travis Dobbins, who lives in Gravois, is one of the patients named in the latest lawsuit. Dobbin was an active construction worker before the procedure that he was told by Stannard would alleviate pain in his right knee, according to the lawsuit.
Dobbins underwent two BioJoint Center procedures. Both of them failed, according to the lawsuit.
In Dobbins' case, there are allegations that Stannard was negligent in more than 17 different instances related to a single patient's treatment. Similar allegations of negligence are cited on behalf of the other three patients in the lawsuit.
For example, the lawsuit states that Stannard was “negligent and carelessly failing to advise plaintiff that defendant Cook was not a licensed physician or an orthopedic surgeon.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Stannard negligently allowed Cook to perform parts of the plaintiff’s surgery without appropriate medical direction and supervision.
This exact same wording has been used in the majority of the other Mizzou BioJoint Center lawsuits against Stannard, Cook and the UM curators.
On the Mizzou BioJoint Center's website Stannard is listed as an orthopedic surgeon and is listed with the other doctors at the center. The four doctors, Stannard included, have "Meet the Doctor" links next to their profiles that lead to short videos about them.
Cook is listed under staff on the same page as Stannard. Cook also has a meet-the-doctor link but it redirects to his profile. He holds the title of director of operations and scientific director of the Mizzou BioJoint Center Team, according to his profile.
The curators are also named as a defendant in the new lawsuit, as they are in most of the other BioJoint lawsuits.
The plaintiff’s attorney argued that MU violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act because it allegedly was misleading patients in the way the procedure was marketed, according to the lawsuit.
“The surgeries performed at the Mizzou BioJoint Center include restorative cartilage, bone, meniscus, ligament and tendon procedures designed to safely improve your joint health and function,” according to its website.
The center uses its Missouri Osteochondral Allograft Preservation System to extend “the effective storage life and significantly (improve) the viability of cartilage grafts obtained from organ donors for use in osteochondral allograft transplantation surgeries done at the Mizzou BioJoint Center.”
Other plaintiffs in pending lawsuits against Mizzou BioJoint claim to have undergone multiple treatments to attempt to alleviate the pain that the original surgery allegedly caused. The allegations in the latest lawsuit describe similar circumstances as those in the other lawsuits filed against the center.
In the hearing Tuesday before the motion to consolidate the lawsuits was granted, Kip Robertson, another attorney representing the patients, pointed out that "there are a lot of commonalities between these cases. These are all knee cases."
He told the court that consolidating the cases will hopefully speed up the process.
As of Friday there is no date scheduled for the next hearing.