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No stem-cell treatment for Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez, the jockey paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a spill at Golden Gate Fields on Sept. 12, has been declined as a candidate for embryonic stem-cell treatments.


The decision by Dr. Richard Fessler of Northwestern University came late Monday after a tumultuous day in which Martinez was to be transferred from Highland Hospital in Oakland to UCSF for a high-resolution MRI exam. The transfer was canceled when the state Division of Workers' Compensation refused to authorize it.


"The doctors at Highland weren't entirely in favor of the transfer and in an e-mail to Dr. Fessler they indicated that they thought that Michael was doubtful as a candidate for the embryonic stem-cell treatments," said Golden Gate Fields physician Dr. David Seftel, who is advising Martinez's family on his care. "The family is devastated, but we're regrouping. I don't give up; Michael doesn't give up."

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