Meningitis followed spinal surgery, suit claims

By Kelly Holleran | Mar 26, 2013


In recently filed court documents, a man and his wife are blaming the man’s doctors for causing him to develop meningitis following a spinal surgery.

Michael H. McKenzie and Donna McKenzie filed a lawsuit March 4 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against HSHS Medical Group doing business as Southern Illinois Brain and Spine Center, Dr. Joseph Yazdi and Dr. Nicholas E. Poulos.

In their complaint, the McKenzies allege Yazdi performed a neurosurgical procedure called a Chiari decompression and duraplasty in which he removed bone at the back of McKenzies’ skull and spine.

Following the surgery, Yazdi and Poulos regularly checked in with Michael McKenzie at appointments, according to the complaint.

However, the doctors ignored Michael McKenzie’s complaints of increasing pain immediately following the surgery and dismissed them as exaggerated, the suit states. They also failed to closely observe Michael McKenzie immediately following the surgery, failed to detect leakage of cerebral spinal fluid, cause the cerebral spinal fluid to leak and caused Michael McKenzie to develop meningitis, the
complaint says.

Because of his surgery and the doctors’ alleged negligence, Michael McKenzie claims he suffered from a post-operative infection, experienced severe pain and mental suffering, experienced serious and permanent neurological damage, suffered neurological defects for the rest of his life and lost earnings and his ability
to work and enjoy life.

Donna McKenzie lost her husband’s care, comfort, companionship, consortium, society, services and support because of his injuries, according to the complaint.

In their complaint, the McKenzies seek a judgment of more than $300,000, plus costs. They are also asking the court to designate St. Elizabeth’s Hospital of the Hospital Sisters of St. Anthony as a
respondent discovery so that the couple can obtain necessary medical records to identify additional defendants.

Martin L. Perron of The Perron Law Firm in St. Louis will be representing them.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-117.

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