Spinal Cord Injury Patient Wins With Stem Cell Therapy, But Loses In Court
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Stem Cells Helps Spinal Cord Injury Patient, but Michigan Court Does Not
A spinal cord injury (SCI) patient who improved after stem cell treatment in Portugal has lost a court decision in Michigan declaring that insurance did not have to pay for the therapy despite the success of it. Kevin Krohn, who regained feelings in his lower body after the adult stem cells from his nose were implanted into his spinal cord, lost in the Michigan Court of Appeals when the judges reversed a jury decision earlier which had awarded Kevin $51,000 for the treatment and stem cell research which improved his quality of life.
The panel reversed the jury verdict ordering Home-Owners Insurance Co. to pay a $51,400 claim by Krohn for an experimental stem cell procedure.
The case went to court after the insurance company denied the claim, arguing the procedure was not reasonable nor necessary. (Not necessary? What if they were in Kevin’s unfortunate condition? -DM)
Krohn suffered a severe spinal injury in a 2001 traffic crash, leaving him with no feeling below his chest. A stem cell treatment in 2005 restored some nerve connections, giving Krohn control of his bowels and bladder and allowing some movement of his hips.
The fact the treatment was successful in improving Krohn’s condition is irrelevant, the panel ruled. The majority opinion stated the case should have been dismissed by the trial court for lack of evidence of the “scientific reliability” of the the surgery.
Before allowing the jury to decide the case, the opinion said, Lenawee County Circuit Judge Timothy Pickard should have required evidence the procedure had “gained general acceptance in the medical community.”
The procedure was done at a government hospital in Portugal’s capital of Lisbon by Dr. Carlos Lima.
A dissenting opinion by Judge Karen Fort Hood said the panel was overstepping its authority in ruling on the scientific reliability of the procedure when no hearing on that issue was held.
The insurance company did not challenge admission of the surgeon’s testimony, said Hood, so there was no opportunity at the trial level for Krohn to present evidence of scientific reliability. The Appeals Court panel erroneously made its own analysis based on a limited record, said Hood.
Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance statute does not require medical procedures to be approved by the federal Food & Drug Administration and performed in the United States, as the majority opinion indicates, she said.
Hood also rejected the insurance company’s argument that the Lenawee County jury’s decision would cause a flood of claims for experimental procedures.
“The fact the treatment was successful in improving Krohn’s condition is irrelevant.” What a terrible statment that is. I see a man in distress and doing what was best for him under the circumstances– going to Dr. Carlos Lima for stem cells which improved his quality of life. If he had left it up to the insurance company, he would NOT have anything now- no feeling in his bowels, no feelings in his legs, no movement at all in his hips.
This is the problem with Obama’s proposed healthcare reform and socialized medicine in general. It takes the individual’s personal choice or preference for medical treatment out of the equation. If Kevin had left his fate up to a insurance commission or a “medical commission” appointed by the state, he would not have any of the improvements in his quality of life that he has today thanks to the adult stem cell research.