Five years ago, actor Bill Paxton died two weeks after a surgery that was supposed to save his life. His family believes the level of care he received led to his untimely death, and they are fighting in court to prove it.
As of this month, their battle is half over. They recently won a $1 million settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit.
What Led to Bill Paxton’s Death?
According to his death certificate, Paxton was born with a form of heart disease called bicuspid aortic valve. People with the disease have only two small leaflets in the aortic valve, instead of the usual three. The defect decreases blood flow in the heart which increases the risk of aneurysm, stroke, or heart failure.
It’s estimated that 2% of the population suffers from a bicuspid aortic valve, and of the people affected by the disease, roughly a third experience complications. In February 2017, Paxton experienced complications, suffered an aortic aneurysm, and underwent valve replacement surgery.
Two weeks later, Paxton died on February 25, 2017. Complications from surgery resulted in a stroke that killed the 61-year-old actor.
One year later, Paxton’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, complications from the surgery were said to include excessive bleeding, cardiogenic shock, right ventricular dysfunction, and a compromised right coronary artery.
According to Page Six, the family alleged that healthcare providers, “misrepresented and/or concealed information relating to the risks of surgery and care that would be provided and/or failed to adequately explain the proposed treatment or procedure.”
Related: How Do You Sue for Wrongful Death?
The Details of the Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The wrongful death suit was filed by Paxton’s wife, Louise, and his children, James and Lydia.
The suit filed in February 2018 listed Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and Dr. Ali Khoynezhad, the surgeon who operated on Paxton, as defendants. Later, General Anesthesia Specialists Partnership and anesthesiologist, Dr. Moody Makar were also added to the wrongful death and negligence lawsuit.
The Paxtons allege that they were misled about the safety of the procedure performed on Paxton and about the experience of the involved doctors.
At the time of the initial filing, the attorney representing the Paxton family Bruce Broillet offered a statement, “Bill Paxton and his family trusted the physicians and staff at this medical facility but instead Cedars-Sinai betrayed their trust.”
“The surgeon’s actions resulted in this tragic and preventable death,” he added.
The family believe the surgeon used “high risk and unconventional surgical approach” during the procedure, which ultimately led to Paxton’s death. They also said Khoynezhad and Cedars-Sinai, “Failed to disclose that Khoynezhad was going to use a high risk and unconventional surgical approach with which he lacked experience and which was, based upon information and belief, beyond the scope of his privileges.”
Related: Examples of Wrongful Death Cases: Do You Have a Case?
The Details of the Wrongful Death Settlement
Now, four years after the initial wrongful death lawsuit was filed, the Paxton family has settled with General Anesthesia Specialists Partnership and Dr. Moody Makar.
While the two defendants deny responsibility, they have settled the case as part of what they call a “business decision,” as reported by NBC News.
According to court records, the group, “contends that its personnel complied with the standard of care insofar as their involvement in the care and treatment of … Paxton, and nothing their personnel did or didn’t do caused or contributed to his death.”
Paxton’s family will receive $1 million in the settlement.
Related: 11 Examples of Medical Malpractice Cases Worth Fighting For
Does This Mean It’s Over?
The $1 million settlement only ends half of the Paxton family’s wrongful death lawsuit. The other two defendants, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Dr. Ali Khoynezhad, are still in a legal fight.
The Paxtons are planning to go to trial where their legal team will need to prove:
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Dr. Ali Khoynezhad were negligent in that they were aware of an unsafe condition and failed to act.
- It was the duty of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Dr. Ali Khoynezhad to provide safe conditions.
- The negligence of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Dr. Ali Khoynezhad directly led to Paxton’s death.
- Paxton’s family experienced monetary or non-monetary damages as a result of Paxton’s death.
According to NBC News, a trial date for the remaining defendants in the case is scheduled for September.
Do You Have a Wrongful Death Claim Worth Fighting For?
Wrongful death cases are a type of personal injury case. They are cases where the negligence of one or more parties caused not just the injury, but the death of another party.
If someone close to you died because of the negligence of another person or company, you deserve justice. Talk to a personal injury attorney with experience in wrongful death litigation, and see if you have a case worth fighting for.
If you’d like to talk to an experienced wrongful death attorney right away, contact TJ Grimaldi. Request your free consultation to speak directly with TJ about the details of your case. Schedule your free consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.