French rocker Hallyday in legal action over surgery

Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:32am EST
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By James Mackenzie

PARIS (Reuters) - French rocker Johnny Hallyday, who has been hospitalized in Los Angeles, has taken legal action to determine whether his Paris surgeon was at fault over a previous operation for back trouble, his publicists said on Thursday.

One of France's most popular entertainers in a career spanning almost 50 years, Hallyday, 66, was admitted to the Cedars-Sinai hospital last week, complaining of severe pain shortly after arriving from Paris.

He was subsequently operated on to repair lesions opened up from the earlier procedure in November for a herniated disc -- commonly known as a slipped disc -- and was put into an artificial coma to relieve his pain.

French news bulletins have been dominated for days by unclear and contradictory reports about the condition of the singer, who has suffered from a succession of health problems in recent months.

A statement from his publicists said Hallyday and his wife Laeticia had decided to start civil proceedings against Dr Stephane Delajoux, who performed the operation on November 29, and the Clinique Internationale du Parc Monceau.

"This procedure aims to have the justice system engage independent experts to conduct an investigation under cross-examination of the circumstances of the November 29 operation and to examine whether they conformed with the rules of medical science," it said.

It said an initial hearing would be held on December 21.

The Clinique Internationale du Parc Monceau, a private clinic in an exclusive part of Paris, declined to comment but a lawyer for Delajoux welcomed the move and said his client was confident an investigation would show he had not been at fault.   Continued...