Plaintiffs say the university lets the veterinarian perform surgical duties

The University of Missouri is resolving knee surgery allegations.

The University of Missouri and 22 plaintiffs have settled personal injury and false advertising claims for knee surgery for a total of 16.2 million US dollars. Many of the plaintiffs were minors and filed lawsuits from 2018 to 2020 over the university’s “BioJoint” operations, which were carried out by two of its employees, orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Stannard and the veterinarian Dr. James Cook.

The procedure includes a restoration process that involves replacing parts of the knee with cadaver bones or cartilage. Some of the plaintiffs stated that BioJoint was being marketed as an alternative to standard knee replacement surgery. They also alleged, “Stannard did not advise plaintiffs that the operation he proposed had a failure rate of up to 86%.” It was believed to have a much higher success rate, and court documents argued that BioJoint was “experimental” and “unproven”, “sometimes leaving patients in need of follow-up surgery and even knee replacements”.

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

In addition, the plaintiffs questioned Cook’s portrayal. They claimed Stannard was negligent “because he allowed Cook [an animal vet] Performing portions of Mizzou BioJoint operations on claimants without proper medical instruction and supervision. “Some plaintiffs stated that they” did not know when they had undergone the procedures that Cook was not a doctor or a licensed medical practitioner “. In at least five cases, they claim he is listed in their medical records as “surgeon – other”.

In a filing by the defendants, they replied that Cook had been identified as “Orthopedic Technologist – Surgery Certified” and had “joined the surgical team for most of the operations performed by Dr. Stannard”. In another case, the defendants’ attorneys alleged that Stannard and Cook had “no obligation to notify patients that he was not a licensed medical practitioner at any time prior to surgery, as the operation usually involves non-licensed doctors.”

“Many new medical techniques are being tested on animals before they get to humans, so veterinarians may be involved in groundbreaking medical research,” said Dr. Patrick McCulloch, Houston Methodist vice chairman of the orthopedic surgery department. “It’s not uncommon to have veterinarians as part of your research team, but it’s unusual to have them as part of your clinical patient care team.”

“They [just] must be licensed to practice surgery on a human, ”added Jeff Howell, executive vice president of the Missouri State Medical Association.

The defendants denied all allegations and settled them without acknowledgment of liability or negligence.

Michelle Mello, a professor of law and medicine at Stanford University, said of the deal, “On a per capita basis this seems like a lot of damage, so there’s something going on that isn’t great for the university.”

However, Jonathan Curtright, CEO of the University of Missouri Health Care, replied, “We are excited to resolve this dispute. Ensuring safe, quality care is always our top priority and we continue to be committed to excellence in restoring joint health and function to eligible patients. We are confident in the expertise and commitment of our people, as well as the innovative, science-based services of the Missouri Orthopedic Institute and the Mizzou BioJoint program. “


The University of Missouri is paying $ 16 million to resolve knee surgery lawsuits

Mizzou closes $ 16 million bill for knee surgery suits involving a veterinarian

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