“San Francisco” Singer Scott McKenzie Dies of Guillain-Barré Syndrome

If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

It became an anthem for the hippie generation. Part of the soundtrack for the 1967 “Summer of Love.”

It was announced yesterday, that it’s singer/songwriter, Scott McKenzie is dead. He died August 18th at the age of 73 from Guilain-Barré Syndrome. McKenzie had been battling the disease on and off over the past 2 years.

His website stated:

It is with much sadness that we report the passing of Scott McKenzie in LA on 18th August, 2012. Scott had been very ill recently and passed away in his home after two weeks in hospital.

As a songwriter, McKenzie found fame for writing the No. 1 hitting 1988 tune Kokomo, for The Beach Boys. He also toured with the Mamas and the Papas.

What is Guillain-Barré Syndrome?

Guillian-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a disease where the body’s immune system turns against the nervous system. Specifically, the immune system attacks the coating around nerve cells (myelin) that allows them to transmit messages from the brain to the rest of the body.

It is unknown what causes GBS, but it is frequently preceded by a relatively mild viral illness, which in some way, may trigger the immune system to react in an abnormal way.

Initial symptoms include muscle weakness and tingling in the legs. Weakness can progress up the body, and in severe cases, can cause complete paralysis. If the paralysis includes the breathing muscles, this is a medical emergency, and a patient must be put on a respirator.

Fortunately, the process is usually self-limited, and with support, the symptoms gradually resolve, although some mild weakness may remain.

Although there is no known cure for GBS, there are a couple of treatments that may lessen the symptoms or clear them up more quickly.

One of these is called  plasmapheresis. The blood is removed from the body, filtered to remove harmful autoantibodies, and returned to the body).

The other is called high dose immunoglobulin therapy, where a patient receives an injection of  healthy antibodies pooled from a large number of donors. These antibodies block the harmful antibodies of GBS.

However, the most critical part of treatment in all GBS patients is providing supportive care  to keep the body functioning during the illness.

Guillain-Barré syndrome can be a devastating disorder because of its sudden and unexpected onset. Most people reach the stage of greatest weakness within the first 2 weeks after symptoms appear, and by the third week of the illness 90 percent of all patients are at their weakest. The recovery period may be as little as a few weeks or as long as a few years. About 30 percent of those with Guillain-Barré still have a residual weakness after 3 years. About 3 percent may suffer a relapse of muscle weakness and tingling sensations many years after the initial attack.

For more information click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on the subject.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

5 Comments

  1. rich fisk

    August 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    pretty scarry.

  2. Paul Jacobs

    April 6, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Was diagnosed with Guillian berre syndrome dec 2012. After fide days of plasma treatments was then again attacked two more times while under hospital care. Almost shutting my lungs down. Had several different surgeries, knee, complete right arm n shoulder repaired shingles at 42, almost lost my eye sight. Nerve repair surgery left hand. Badly torn nerves right thigh. It’s just been over four years and every day is still a challenge, still needing several hand shoulder and back and neck repairs and having to wait for the nervous system to stop fighting back has been a very stressful time. Was miss diagnosed first visit to er than admitted to ICU than attacked two more times under their care becoming about 90 percent paralyzed. It’s been a long four years with more strength losses, every day is still a battle I hope to overcome.

    • Sheryl

      February 19, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      Bless you. I had it in March of 2016. I was misdiagnosed on 3 ER trips. Apparently, 4th is charmed. Had 5 bottles of IVIG over 5 days. After a week in the hospital, I spent a week in inpatient physical therapy. From everything I know, I’m very lucky to have had what I call a mild case. It sure didn’t feel mild at the time. That was the worst pain I’ve ever been in, even a toothache

    • Sheryl holtam

      February 19, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      Bless you. I had it in March of 2016. I was misdiagnosed on 3 ER trips. Apparently, 4th is charmed. Had 5 bottles of IVIG over 5 days. After a week in the hospital, I spent a week in inpatient physical therapy. From everything I know, I’m very lucky to have had what I call a mild case. It sure didn’t feel mild at the time. That was the worst pain I’ve ever been in, even a toothache

  3. If the psychological effects of GBS is an admitted excuse for their severe psychosesshit than its a form of knowing it and compensating in their lunacyshit. The symptoms of their psychoticshit is reprehensible anomalies. The, im sorry for being a psychotic loserfuckershit ignorant overtshit and please pity me just doesnt meet forgiveness standards. Its about their nonexistentshit. Since they have an excuse they automatically forgive themselves for their psychoseshit. They dont require assistence. Its like saying, ok i understand that youre insaneshit but if you continuously treat and call me as yourselves than that makes me your format to stomp your pathetic feet on and the inferiorshit jealousshit enviousshit is all in their nonexistentshit. They are the limited idiocyshit of society no matter what diagnosis that they have. Its the its not me me me nor my my my its my born psychosesshit! The pity me pity me pity me for i am garbageshit just dosent work for me. No with this shutdown by trump do you know what his trumpeteers stated, good now all federal employees will know that i know that they are corrupt bitchshit! Go Trump! Nab those slimeballs! Seriously? Aren’t most of them trumpeteers? Sort of like, i am Trump God and i like to beat the fuck out of my own peopleshit stomping my feet to get my way as a spoiled little boy on his way to military school by his MAD DOG TRUMP! SO IS THIS PSYCHOSESSHIT ALL INBREEDING LIKE HIS TRUMPETEERS ADMIT? They can always try GBS! Much more socialistically acceptable than, i am inbred hybrid and thats my excuse!!! At least his trumpeteers admitshit in confessions on their holy grail! So its, sicc em trump! And its wtf trump i am not voting for your ass again in 2020 and i am keeping my eye on 20/20 news headlines as his numbers drop! The infighting is definately evident! Seriously Pelosi just needs to sit back and watch the infighting! War of the trumpeteers with admitted inbreeding and GBS! Each with an excuse! Dial: (lun) acy- shit! The war of lets divide and conquer ourselves as proud deludedshit. Does Trump tell them to allow all of their teeth to fall out rather than HIM paying their basically socialistic healthcare? The psychiatrists are accurate. Trump is the sociopath and trumpeteers the army of psychopaths. Hows the truths! Hows the facts! Are you inbed and or GBS psychoticshit? Do you seriously pray, oh my Lord God Trump have mercy on us and does he turn around and say, listen my $0.25 means much more to me and he supposedly has warn that logo for 52 years now! It does appear that their Jesus is in dysfunctional co deoendency issues and problems with himself!!!

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