EXCLUSIVES
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

Michigan Widower Finds Himself at Risk for Meningitis

LilianCary

DETROIT (AP) — Days after taking his wife off life support, George Cary got a phone call that confirmed his suspicions: Her meningitis-related death was linked to tainted steroid injections at a Michigan clinic that had regularly treated her back pain.

The doctor on the call had more tough news. Cary's own back injections in September may have come from a contaminated batch too.

Cary went to an emergency room last weekend for a spinal tap. The test results aren't in yet, so he is left to wait and say goodbye to his wife, 67-year-old Lilian Cary, at a memorial service Tuesday.

"They advised me to watch for symptoms," Cary, 65, told The Associated Press from a funeral home in Howell, 60 miles northwest of Detroit. "At this point, there's nothing abnormal, but they said the same thing when Lilian had hers. ... Not only have I lost my wife, but I'm watching the clock to see if anything develops."

Michigan has at least 21 cases of meningitis related to steroid shots made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. Those cases include the deaths of Lilian Cary and a 56-year-old woman whose identity and hometown haven't been released by public health officials.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, and a back injection would put any contaminant in more direct contact with that lining. Separately, a Michigan resident developed a nonmeningitis fungal infection after being injected in a joint, not the back, the state Department of Community Health reported.

Lilian Cary died Sept. 30. She had been ill since late August, but meningitis wasn't detected until Sept. 22, her husband said.

Nonetheless, her health seemed to be improving at University of Michigan hospital.

"She was responding to medication. Her spirits were up. Her fever was broken," George Cary said. "She was walking the hallway and Skyping with grandsons."

But she became unresponsive Sept. 26, and eventually was removed from life support after suffering a stroke, he said.

Cary said he was informed Saturday that his wife had been treated with tainted steroids for back pain. The doctor at Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton, one of four Michigan clinics to get shipments from the Massachusetts pharmacy, said Cary also was at risk.

"The whole staff is devastated," said Cary, who declined to disclose the doctor's name. "The people there are professionals. I have the greatest respect for their care. They truly care about the people they treat. They're suffering just as much as I am."

No one could be reached for comment Monday at Michigan Pain Specialists. The phone number was repeatedly busy.

Lilian Cary was a native of Stoke-on-Trent, England, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1965 to work as a nanny. The Carys met in Mount Kisco, N.Y., and were married in 1977. They moved to Michigan in 2000 after many years in the St. Louis area and have lived in Howell since 2003.

Lilian Cary liked to play bunco, a dice game, and belonged to a club that welcomed transplants like herself to Livingston County.

"I've lost my best friend," George Cary said.

___

Follow Ed White on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/edwhiteap

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.



RELATED ARTICLES

Wisconsin City Council Turns Over EMS to Hospital

Vote in Platteville transfers control of EMS to Southwest health Center.

21 People Rescued From Drifting Houseboat in Texas

Austin-Travis County EMS said none of the occupants were injured.

Austin-Travis County EMS Honored with Mission: Lifeline Gold Award

AHA award recognizes successful implementation of quality improvement measures.

Construction Worker injured in fall at Maine Water Treatment Plant

Firefighters had to cut through reinforcing bar to access the patient.

Wisconsin Council Votes on Ambulance Service Change

Vote could move responsibility of EMS delivery to area hospital.

Ohio Law Would Allow EMTs to Treat Injured Animals

Proposed bill would not allow people to call 911 for pets.

Features by Topic

Featured Careers

 

JEMS TV

FEATURED VIDEO TOPICS

Learn about new products and innovations featured at EMS Today 2015

 

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts