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Body Snatcher Had a Long History in Human Tissue Trade

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In early 2006 the FDA closed down the human tissue recovery agency, Biomedical Tissue Services, operated by a defrocked dentist and a former funeral director. Concerns over questionable tissue recovery practices gave rise to the recall of over 13,000 lots of human tissue which were believed to pose risk for infectious disease including Hepatitis and HIV. Last week the FDA closed yet another tissue recovery agency based in North Carolina over the same concerning practices. This agency, run by Philip Joe Guyett Jr., is another one of many under the radar tissue brokers in this billion dollar industry. The fact that Guyett is linked to these questionable practices should however come as no surprise.

It could have ended three years ago, when a leaky FedEx box containing an arm and legs turned up in Missouri. Or years before that, when a judge convicted him of embezzling money from the sale of a corpse that belonged to a medical school in California. But nothing stopped Philip Joe Guyett Jr. from moving steadily eastward, mining gold from the lucrative body parts trade.

Guyett’s Donor Recovery Service collected human body tissues for larger processing companies, which then sold them to hospitals and research labs. Guyett says the federal government has its facts wrong when it blames him for mislabeling body parts with wrong death certificates. According to the FDA’s order, altered paperwork on the health history and age of at least five dead donors, eliminating mention of factors like cancer and drug use that might make them ineligible.

Guyett says the problem is bigger than his business that once operated out of a small Raleigh warehouse. He blames the company who bought his human tissues.

“The processor determines suitability of the donor and the release of the tissue,” Guyett said. “It’s obvious they just took what I gave them and just ran with it.”