THE TRIAL into the multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the Brian Lara Cancer Treatment Centre (BLCTC) over the death of Ricardo “Smokey” McKenzie from a suspected deadly overdose of radiation to his brain could possibly begin in 2015.
McKenzie, 55, former co-owner of Smokey and Bunty Sports Bar in St James, died on December 21, 2010, at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami, Florida, USA.
McKenzie’s family claims gross medical negligence, bribery and fraud by Medcorp Ltd and the Cancer Centre of the Caribbean Ltd, operators of BLCTC.
BLCTC has been slapped with a $20 million lawsuit.
According to court documents, McKenzie first complained of headaches, seizures and vomiting in August 2009 and was subsequently referred to the BLCTC in September 2009 for radiation treatment after a tumour was detected and removed from his brain.
Between the months of September and November 2009, McKenzie was under treatment at the centre, but in April 2010, he collapsed and suddenly began having seizures, court documents stated.
His condition worsened after he became partially paralysed and complained of “severe headaches”.
Further medical tests revealed “a possibility of radiation necrosis” of the area where the tumour was removed.
By July 27, 2010, McKenzie had travelled to Jackson Memorial to obtain more expert medical treatment, where it was recommended that he needed urgent care for a wound infection at the site of the surgery.
McKenzie underwent brain surgery there two days later and again on August 20, 2010 to remove a mass of necrotic brain tissue.
Two other surgeries were performed because of persistent brain swelling.
McKenzie’s condition continued to deteriorate, according to court documents, until his death.
BLCTC has not accepted any blame for McKenzie’s death and disputes any negligence on its part, according to court documents.
BLCTC states that the Linear Accelerator machine was miscalibrated but not more than “13.9 per cent”.
McKenzie’s family claims the miscalibration was as much as 20 per cent.
“The defendants admit that they failed to properly calibrate the Linear Accelerator with the result that the Accelerator was over-calibrated to the extent of 13.9 per cent at the material time,” documents filed by BLCTC have stated.
“The defendants will maintain that this over-calibration is less than 20 per cent of the prescribed dose in accordance with the standards of American state regulatory boards for radiation treatment,” the document stated.
The matter was called before Justice Mira Dean-Armorer at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain on Thursday for a case management conference.
McKenzie’s widow Lisa and his daughter Ornella appeared.
The matter has been adjourned to March next year.
McKenzie’s family was represented by Terrence Bharath, Vijai Deonarine and Andre Le Blanc.
Medcorp Ltd were represented by Neal Bisnath, Ravi Nanga and Samson Wong.
Both parties are expected to exchange documents and witness statements in time for next year’s sitting.
The trial is expected to be set in 2015.