When Dimitri Bonnville of Almont, Michigan, was shot in the chest with a nail gun by a construction coworker two years ago, the then 16-year-old eventually wound up at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, where James Robbins, a trauma surgeon, removed the three-inch-long spike from his right ventricle.

The procedure worked-at first. But the teenager soon suffered a major heart attack, prompting Beaumont physicians to suggest a radical-and, some say, unwarranted-step: They offered the boy an experimental stem cell transplant to rejuvenate his dead myocardium. Bonnville and his parents agreed, and he soon became the first cardiac stem cell recipient in the United States-a feat William Beaumont trumpeted in press releases that featured Bonnville and his family as willing participants.

Evidently, they've had a change of, er, heart. Earlier this year, the Bonnvilles filed suit against William Beaumont Hospital, Robbins, and Srinivas Dukkipati, the cardiology fellow who saw Bonnville...

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