Memorial Service For Woman Whose Death Is Tied To Fungal Meningitis

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A Michigan man hopes he can dodge the same illness that led to his wife’s death.

George Cary is holding a memorial service Tuesday in Howell for Lilian Cary, who developed fungal meningitis after getting tainted steroid injections for back pain. Cary says he’s at risk after getting similar injections at the same clinic.

Cary says results from a spinal tap last weekend aren’t in yet. He says he’s left “watching the clock” until he gets the news.

Michigan has 22 cases of meningitis related to steroids made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. Two women have died, including Lilian Cary, a 67-year-old Brit who moved to the U.S. in 1965.

Lilian Cary had been treated at Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton with a steroid injection for her chronic back pain. George Cary says his wife was taken off life support Sept. 30 after suffering a stroke.

Michigan’s second death involved a 56-year-old woman, but no other details were  released by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH).

Angela Minicuci with the MDCH said the number of cases in the state is expected to rise.

“We are working with those facilities to reach our the patients that may have received an epidural injection between July and the beginning of October and who may be experiencing particular symptoms,” she said, including headaches  stroke-like symptoms such as slurred speech, and sensitivity to light.

Four Michigan facilities received shipments of the contaminated steroids:

  • Michigan Neurosurgical Institutes in Grand Blanc
  • Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton
  • Neuromuscular and Rehabilitation in Traverse City
  • Southeast Michigan Surgical Hospital in Warren

Fungal meningitis is not transmitted person-to-person. Infected patients have presented approximately one to four weeks following their injection with a variety of symptoms including fever, new or worsening headache, nausea, and other symptoms consistent with a stroke. Some of these patients’ symptoms were very mild in nature.

Any individual who received an epidural steroid injection or steroid injection into a joint at one of the four Michigan facilities and is experiencing symptoms consistent with fungal meningitis or a stroke should immediately contact their physician or seek medical attention.

Nationwide, there have been eight fatalities and 105 people sickened in nine states. US health officials said Monday that 13,000 patients in 23 states have been injected with the potentially tainted steroid treatment.

Additional information about this investigation can be found at

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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