Howell Family Says Meningitis Death Was Preventable - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Howell Family Says Meningitis Death Was Preventable


HOWELL, Mich. (WLNS) – The family of a Mid-Michigan woman who officials say died from a rare type of fungal meningitis said on Tuesday at a brief news conference outside of their home in Howell that circumstances surrounding 67-year-old Lilian Cary's death were preventable.

"Right now, the grief and disbelief that some things like this could still happen is still there," says Heather Andrus, the victim's daughter.

Cary's family says 67-year-old Lilian died on September 30, about a month after she received an epidural steroid injection at the Michigan Pain Specialists clinic in Brighton. Andrus says Cary got the shots to help ease back pain associated with degenerative disc disease and trapped nerves between her vertebrae. The clinic that have the injection is one of four across the state that received tainted medicine connected to the national meningitis outbreak.

"The drug manufacturers are regulated. Somewhere there was a slip in evaluating what people where doing in making sure America was getting drugs that were safe to use," says husband George Cary, who also received steroid injections at the Brighton facility. "My family is horrified at the thought they could lose both of their parents to this preventable outbreak," he says. George Cary has not tested positive for meningitis.

The contaminated drugs have been traced back to a Massachusetts pharmacy, which recently recalled all of its products. However, George Cary says that recall may not have been necessary if there had been better oversight of the medical industry.

"America has a strong belief in their medical system and in their political system that when they purchase a service or a product that it's going to do what it says – that it's safe, that it performs what it's supposed to do," says Cary. "We don't have an expectation of a faulty regulatory or medical system that allows these types of mistakes to be made," says Cary. "So perhaps the message is, "Wake up, America."

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with WLNS-TV. Reach out to her on Facebook, Twitter or email at

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