The MU curators and two doctors with the Mizzou BioJoint Center have been named defendants in a lawsuit filed Feb. 11. There are are now at least 11 pending medical malpractice lawsuits against the center involving at least 17 patients.
Dr. James Stannard, who was cleared of negligence by a Boone County jury last year in a lawsuit that predates Mizzou BioJoint, and Dr. James Cook are named as defendants in the latest lawsuit.
Stannard is an orthopedic surgeon and is listed among the doctors on the center’s website. Cook is listed under staff on the same page and as the director of operations and scientific director of the Mizzou BioJoint Center Team.
The new lawsuit filed Feb. 11 alleges that Wesley Richards of Richmond Heights was not made aware that the surgery he was advised to undergo “had a failure rate as high as 86%.”
The center’s website doesn’t make success rate claims for its procedures. It says: “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.”
The suit also alleges that Stannard was negligent in more than 17 different instances related to Richards’ treatment.
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.
The lawsuit alleges that complications came from the surgery and that the donor grafts “had not incorporated” in Richards. The result for Richards was pain, and Stannard acknowledged the grafts’ failure to integrate, according to the lawsuit.
The MU curators are also named as a defendant in some other lawsuits against Stannard and Cook. Judge J. Hasbrouck Jacobs dismissed MU as a party in at least one of the lawsuits last year.
In that specific case, the plaintiff’s attorney argued MU violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act because it allegedly was misleading patients in the way the procedure was marketed.
“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 Richards lawsuit describe similar circumstances as those in the other lawsuits filed against the center.
The alleged negligence caused permanent damage to the function of Richards’ entire lower right leg and irreversible damage to his knee joint, according to the suit.
When contacted for comment regarding the latest lawsuit, a representative for MU Health Care said, “At MU Health Care’s Mizzou BioJoint Center at the Missouri Orthopedic Institute, providing safe, quality care is our top priority.”
Eric Maze, MU Health communications strategist, said MU Health Care couldn’t comment on pending litigation.
Todd Hendrickson, an attorney representing people who’ve had the surgery, filed a motion earlier this month to consolidate most of the pending lawsuits against Mizzou Biojoint. This is done normally when similar claims are shared among cases.
The first lawsuit that was filed back in 2018 on behalf of Daniel Draper claimed that he had been told that the procedure would make it unnecessary for him to get a total artificial knee replacement.
Yet, Draper’s attorneys allege that Mizzou BioJoint’s negligence forced him to undergo multiple follow-up procedures before finally getting a full knee replacement — the very thing he wanted to avoid. Draper was active duty in the U.S. Army at the time.
The Missouri Orthopaedic Institute received a $2 million donation from the Wyss Medical Foundation to aid Stannard’s work in 2017.
Mizzou BioJoint also received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense in 2018 “to further determine how the surgeries performed at the Mizzou BioJoint Center can help soldiers and civilians recover from injuries to their knees and ankles.”
The center has been marketed on a wide scale by MU in the past. An advertisement was locally aired during a Super Bowl, and advertisements have been a common sight at the Columbia Regional Airport.
MU Health Care pathologist and former Boone County Deputy Medical Examiner Eddie Adelstein has been a vocal critic of the center‘s use of cadaver tissue.
In an interview last fall, Adelstein said the tissue used in the procedure does not undergo a compatibility check with the recipient and that this could lead to negative consequences for the patient.
There were no scheduled court dates Tuesday for Richards’ lawsuit.