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"Seven and a half years after the noontime Dec. 20, 1996, accident, Jones can talk, does well with schoolwork, follows baseball and football and writes poetry.

Yet a medical-malpractice lawsuit filed against seven doctors and Tallahassee Memorial Hospital alleged that failure to quickly diagnose Jones' spinal-cord injury and administer a steroid led to his permanent paralysis.

Today the 17-year-old is a quadriplegic, ventilator-dependent, his life bounded by a wheelchair."