French court to look into ‘botched’ Hallyday operation

A Paris judge has asked two medical experts to determine whether the French doctor who operated on Johnny Halliday was guilty of malpractice. The allegedly "botched" operation forced the French singer to undergo additional treatment in Los Angeles.


AFP - A Paris judge on Monday asked two medical experts to determine whether rock star Johnny Hallyday was the victim of a botched operation that landed him in hospital with a severe infection.

Hallyday's lawyer described the decision as an "important step" in the case against Stephane Delajoux, dubbed the "surgeon to the stars", who performed the operation in Paris in November to correct a herniated disc.

An infection specialist and a neurosurgeon will take several months to study Hallyday's medical records before making a decision, lawyer Virginie Lapp said.

Hallyday "believes that an important step has been taken to establish the truth following what he sees as a medical blunder of which he was the victim," said Lapp.

Known as the French Elvis, Hallyday left a Los Angeles hospital on December 23 after undergoing a second operation and spending several days in a drug-induced coma to treat complications from the the back operation.

The 66-year-old singer was admitted on December 7 to Cedars Sinai hospital and his health problems has made frontpage news in France, prompting President Nicolas Sarkozy to wish him a speedy recovery.

The rock star, whose career has spanned four decades, was forced to scrap his farewell tour.

"I came very close to death. That is why I want to know the truth," Hallyday wrote in a letter to the judge last week.

Though little known abroad, Hallyday has sold more than 100 million albums and played 45 major tours in a career that began in the 1960s, selling out at French stadiums.

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