Nearly a year after his death from surgical complications, the family of late actor Bill Paxton has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against his surgeon and the hospital where he was treated.
Stroke After Heart Surgery
On February 14, 2017, Bill Paxton, known for his starring roles in the films Apollo 13, Twister, and Titanic and in the television series Big Love, underwent heart surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA to repair an aortic aneurysm (an abnormal bulge in the blood vessel wall) and replace the bicuspid aortic valve, which allows blood to flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle. Dr. Ali Khoynezhad performed the operation. Mr. Paxton subsequently suffered a fatal stroke on February 25, less than two weeks after the surgery, as a result of what his family believes were preventable complications.
On February 8, 2018, Mr. Paxton’s wife, son, daughter, and estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court against Dr. Khoynezhad and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In addition to wrongful death, the lawsuit also alleges negligence, battery, and breach of fiduciary responsibility.
“High-Risk and Unconventional Surgery”
In the lawsuit, the family accuses Dr. Khoynezhad of not disclosing to Mr. Paxton that the surgical technique performed was risky and unconventional, that it was “beyond the scope of his (hospital) privileges,” and that he did not have experience with it.
The wrongful death lawsuit also alleged the doctor “intentionally performed unnecessary heart surgery,” and that, during the course of the surgery, he, the hospital, and up to 100 unnamed individuals “acted negligently and/or recklessly and provided harmful and/or offensive management and treatment of (Mr. Paxton) thereby causing his death.”
As a result of these actions, the lawsuit further asserts that the hospital and the doctor acted “with intent to harm” Mr. Paxton by “knowingly performing high-risk and unconventional surgery” without having explained the risks, and therefore committed “battery.”
Negligence Worsened Complications
Additionally, the wrongful death lawsuit accuses Dr. Khoynezhad of neglecting to provide continuing care, thus worsening Mr. Paxton’s surgical complications. The suit asserts that the doctor was no longer in the operating room when his patient began suffering such complications as excessive bleeding, shock, a compromised right coronary artery, and ventricular dysfunction and tachycardia.
The Paxton family’s wrongful death lawsuit further alleges that the doctor failed to provide continuing care after leaving the operating room. He reportedly did not return to surgery after being notified of what was happening to Mr. Paxton, causing a delay in treatment with further cardiac damage.
As a result of these various factors, the lawsuit claims that the actor was forced to undergo a second emergency surgery to repair the damaged coronary artery, after which his condition deteriorated until he died ten days later at the age of 61.
Illinois Wrongful Death Act
Mr. Paxton’s surgery took place in California, so any wrongful death actions in this matter would be governed by the laws of that state.
Wrongful death actions in the state of Illinois, however, are governed by the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, which holds that “Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, then and in every such case the person who or company or corporation which would have been liable if death had not ensued, shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured, and although the death shall have been caused under such circumstances as amount in law to felony.” That is, a person or persons whose negligent actions result in a person’s death may be pursued for financial damages in Illinois.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When a person is killed due to the misconduct of others, the families and heirs of the deceased may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those who may have been responsible for the death.
With more than $2 BILLION successfully recovered for our clients, the Chicago wrongful death lawyers at GWC Injury Lawyers can provide the experience and determination to fight for the justice that you deserve.
If your loved one has died because of somebody else’s negligent actions, please contact GWC today for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.