Plant City family says state ordered wrong device for paraplegic son, told they are stuck with it


PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Plant City family is fighting to get their son the stand-up frame medical device he needs for his therapy.

The device was ordered and paid for by tax money through a state program, but someone mistakenly ordered the wrong type of device. Now, the family says they are told they are stuck with it, and the correct device won’t be ordered.

“I was shocked,” said Nicole Duffey. “This is something he really needs for his care.”

Her son, Kolten Smith, was a standout football player for Durant High School. He was in a terrible accident in June 2018 and is now a paraplegic. Smith went on to graduate from high school in May and is now in college.

He is improving and is hopeful for the future.

“You can stay above all the negativity and move on in your life and do good things for yourself and everyone around you,” Smith said.

Doctors recommended a standing frame to help Smith stand for 30 minutes a day.

“It aligns his spinal cord and the pathways that are needed to get the signals down past the point of injury to help hopefully wake those back up,” Duffey said.

She said a caseworker through the state’s Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program met with them in the hospital and offered a standing frame for free. The program is through the state Department of Health.

The standing frame costs thousands of dollars, and Duffey was thrilled at the opportunity. It took a year to get to her son, and it when the box showed up, it was the wrong device.

Instead, the state had ordered a sit-to-stand power lift. Smith was disappointed and calls the device dangerous.

“I had to pretty much hold half my body weight up to be able to stand up all the way. It also didn’t have stuff to lock out my legs,” Smith said. ” It was just a pad in front of my knees, so that was very unsafe.”

Duffey says Brian and Spinal Cord Injury Program won’t take back the device or reorder the one her son really needs.

A spokesman for the Department of Health tells Better Call Behnken the division director and regional director have pulled case files and notes and are reviewing the situation.

We will stay on this story until this family has answers.


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