14 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, June 28, 1995
9-year-old boy awarded $14.2M
n 'U' Hospitals settlement
By Christina Rieske
Daily Staff Reporter
Kenneth Saunders, a nine-year-old
leukemia patient, was awarded $14.2
million on June 2 in a binding arbitra-
iln with University Hospitals after a
medical error left him paralyzed four
Before the settlement, University
Hospitals had assumed responsibility for
the mistake and had provided funds to the
payment of his costly medical bills and
equipment over the past four years - an
amount totaling more than $1.2 million.
Richard B. Worsham, the Saunders'
attorney, said that the settlement is satis-
factory. The family of Kenneth Saunders
has chosen to stay anonymous.
"It will go a long way to pay the
medical expenses they will incur in the
future," Wosham said.
University Hospital officials, how-
ever, say that the settlement was miscal-
"(University Hospitals) stepped forward and
admitted they were wrong. They have paid for
medical expenses, medical equipment and full-
time medical care."
-Richard B. Worsham
Attorney for Kenneth Saunders
The hospital has been advised by
counsel not the give details of the case.
"We can't comment on the specifics
of the case because it is still in
litagation. We are in the process of
scheduling a rehearing with the arbitra-
tor to discuss the award, which, because
of an apparent error in the structure of
the award, is signifigantly different than
what we expected," stated a release
from the University Medical Center At-
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In August 1991, Saunders' final che-
motherapy treatment was administered
incorrectly. Saunders recived two medi-
cations - Methatroxate, injected into
the spinal column, and Vicristine, in-
jected into the arm. The viles of the
medication were reversed and the paraly-
sis-causing Vicristine was accidentally
injected into the spinal column.
"The resident gave the medication
that should have been given in the arm
in the spinal colum. (The medication)
was a neurotoxin and destroyed his spi-
nal colum," Worsham said.
When the error was recognized, the
medical staff began a suction process
that saved his life but left him as a
quadrapalegie. The hospital immediately
"(University Hospitals) stepped for-
ward and admitted they were wrong.
They have paid for medical expenses,
medical equipment, and full-time medi-
cal care," Worsham said.
Both parties decided to leave the cir-
cuit court and go into arbitration in Oc-
tober 1994. There were four hearings,
the last one on June 2, 1995. Worsham
said that several physicians, economists
and rehabilitation specialists were
called to testify during the arbitration
Saunders is currently enrolled at a
school in Prescott, where he participates
in the mainstream curriculum. With the
aid of a specialized wheelchair and
voice-activated computer, he is reported
to be doing well.
Continued from page 1
thing that would be dictators attack.' in
glad its oser"
Baker is currently attending an un-
disclosed school in Ohio. The question
of Baker's status at the University of
Michigan, however, still remains open.
Baker was suspended on February 2
by University President James J.
Duderstadt under Regents' Bylaw 2.01.
Cahill said he feels Baker is still a student
- the University does not.
"The suspension was until, but not
including, fall 1995," Cahill said. "My
theory is that he's still a student."
Vice President for Student Affairs
Maureen A. Hartford disagreed. "No, he
withdrew (from the University)," she
said. She refused to comment further.
The procedure for dealing with
Baker's case should he seek reinstate-
ment has not yet been decided.
"I'm not sure we would know what
to do," said Daniel Sharphorn, assistant
general counsel for the University. "This
is the first time this has happened - he
was in the middle of the process when he
became involved in a criminal investiga-
Vice President for University Rela-
tions Walter Harrison said that the Uni-
versity would not necessarily deny Baker
reinstatement. "If he applies for readmis-
sion, I think we will obviously spend a
good time thinking about it," he said.
If Baker is denied reinstatement,
Cahill said Baker would consider suing
"If we couldn't negotiate an accept-
able solution, what I would probably do
is file a suit in Washtenaw County Cir-
cuit Court saying Jake's due process
rights have been (infringed) and asking
for reinstatement, a declaratory judge-
ment for reinstatement," Cahill said.
Cahill said neither the woman nor
anyone else should feel threatened by
Baker's return. "In the context of the law,
she was never threatened by Jake," he
said. "He didn't show her the story, the
University did. If anything, the Univer-
sity threatened her safety."
The dismissal has cast some doubt as
to whether the University was correct in
initially suspending Baker and notifying
"The Unixversity was acting as an arm
of the FBI:' said Vince Keenan, chair o
the Michigan Student Assembly Student
Rights Commission during the period
that Baker uwas arrested. "Thecy were a
little too eager to enforce laws that didn't
Harrison said the University stands
by its decision. "I'm confident we acted
responsibly." he said. "We considered a
body of writing that he made available to
us. The president acted because we had
evidence of a student's emotional mak
up, which we felt posed a threat to other
students. I would be willing to defend
that action.... We felt the safety of other
students was at stake."
Describing Regents Bylaw 2.01 as
"Martial Law 2.01," Cahill remains ada-
mant that the University acted incor-
"The bylaw says the University must
be concerned with preserving health,
diligence or order," Cahill said. "If any
thing, it was regulation of speech, whic
would be student conduct or safety."
Cahill said Baker is considering su-
ing the University for suspending him.
"It depends on what Jake decides. We're
actively considering suing. We haven't
said yes or no yet. It's not a small task to
sue the University. He has to decide if
it's worth it," Cahill said.
Shaphorn said he is not concerned
about a possible lawsuit.
"I believe the University acted rea-
sonably and responsibly and afforded
him all of his rights," Sharphorn said.
Whether the dismissal will affect
University policy in the long run is de-
"The University will continue to act
as a duchy (making its own laws and
regulations)," Keenan said. "The ruling
should have an impact. It's time to start
realizing that there are elements and i-
stitutions in our society designed to de
with this type of thing. The University is
an institution designed to educate, not to
enforce laws, and it got confused."
What is certain is the precedent this
dismissal begins to set for regulation of
"While new technology such as the
Internet may complicate analysis and
may sometimes require new or modified
laws, it does not in this instance qualit
tively change the analysis under the sta
ute or under the First Amendment,"
"The Internet and e-mail are pro-
tected under the Bill of Rights," Cahill
said. "This is the first opinion that
squarely holds that."
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