10-Year-Old Partially Paralyzed After Operation–Medical Center to Pay $135,000,000 for Malpractice

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 3, 2018US News
10-Year-Old Partially Paralyzed After Operation–Medical Center to Pay $135,000,000 for Malpractice
(Screenshot/Fox 2)

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A jury has ruled that the Detroit Medical Center will have to pay $135 million to a 10-year-old left partially paralyzed after an operation.

The jury found the medical center (DMC) and the girl’s doctor guilty of malpractice, it announced on Monday after a two-week trial in Wayne County Circuit Court.

The verdict awarded the money to Faith DeGrand of Wyandotte, Michigan, for the injuries she suffered after going to DM for scoliosis surgery in 2010. She was 10 years old at the time.

Geoffrey Fieger, attorney for DeGrand, told Fox 2 that the surgeon inserted rods and screws meant to straighten the girl’s spine incorrectly, causing compression of the spinal cord.

The mistake could have been rectified, Fieger said, but the doctor vanished.

“The patient needs to have screws and hooks and bars taken out immediately. Instead—he left; he abandoned her,” Feiger said. “He actually went on vacation twice while she became paralyzed and lost use of her bowel and bladder.”

When the hardware was finally removed 10 days after being inserted, it was too late. DeGrand is now dealing with being a quadriplegic.

Attorneys at the center had argued that it wasn’t the hardware being installed incorrectly that caused her injuries but a blood clot, claiming there was nothing the DMC could have done.

But DeGrand’s attorneys said the attempt at that angle for defense didn’t make sense.

“The defense was mind-boggling,” Fieger told The Detroit News.

The girl’s attorneys said the money is welcome for the family but will only be enough to provide care for DeGrand for the rest of her life.

“For seven years the family has been waiting, hoping and not knowing what was going to happen,” attorney James McCullen told Fox. “It is going to be difficult but it will make it a little bit easier. But that is all it can do.”


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