Hancock County man award over $1.4 million in civil suit


BILOXI, Miss. – A Hancock County man has been awarded over $1.4 million in damages for injuries he suffered during unnecessary brain surgery.

Surgeon Michael Lowry and radiologist Michael Diaz were accused of causing permanent neurological damage to Charles Connetti.

Connetti and his wife, Carmen, sued the doctors at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport and Charity Hospital in New Orleans in 2001 after Lowry performed brain surgery to remove a 4.5-centimeter cyst. Doctors later learned the cyst was in the brain of another patient, Robert King, who later died.

In Harrison County Circuit Court on Wednesday, a jury held Lowry 45 percent responsible for Connetti’s neurological problems. The judgment against Lowry means he owes $810,000 in damages.

Diaz was held 35 percent responsible, which means he owes $630,000 in damages.

The jury found that Memorial Hospital had a 20 percent responsibility, but the hospital settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Lowry had acknowledged that he was looking at King’s MRI film, but believed it belonged to Connetti. Connetti’s lawyer, John Giddens of Jackson, said King’s name was on the film 16 times.

“I don’t think the verdict is out of line with what we proved,” Giddens said. “We feel that we proved … that he was going to need over $1.1 million just in future care and medical expenses.”

Giddens also is representing King’s family in a separate lawsuit. That case is expected to go to trial in 2005.

Paul Delcambre, Lowry’s lawyer, declined to comment. Pete Bloss, who represents Diaz, said he couldn’t comment on information presented at trial.