Nearly a year after Apollo 13 star Bill Paxton died from complications from surgery, his family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the surgeon and hospital that treated him.
Paxton suffered a stroke nearly two weeks after undergoing heart surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm (an abnormal bulge in the blood vessel wall) and replace his bicuspid aortic valve, which lets blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle. He died Feb. 25, 2017, at age 61.
His widow Louise Paxton, son James, daughter Lydia and his estate filed suit late last week in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging wrongful death, negligence and battery on the part of cardiovascular surgeon Ali Khoynezhad and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
In their filing, obtained by Paxton's hometown paper, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the family says Khoynezhad did not disclose that his planned surgical technique was risky and "unconventional," that he lacked experience with it, and that it was "beyond the scope of his (hospital) privileges."
In a press release accompanying the complaint, lawyer Steve Heimberg notes Khoynezhad left Cedars-Sinai soon after the actor's death.
Photos: The life of Bill Paxton (1955-2017)
“Defendant Ali Khoynezhad intentionally performed unnecessary heart surgery” on Paxton, the lawsuit says. During the course of that surgery, the doctor, the hospital and up to 100 other unnamed individuals “acted negligently and/or recklessly and provided harmful and/or offensive management and treatment of (Paxton) thereby causing his death,” the lawsuit states.
They also say the hospital failed to discipline Khoynezhad for his conduct in Paxton's case, and failed to disclose relevant information to Paxton and his family about the risky nature of the initial procedure he underwent.
The lawsuit asserts the doctor and the hospital committed "battery," acting "with intent to harm" Paxton by "knowingly performing high-risk and unconventional surgery" without explaining the risks.
They allege that Khoynezhad was not in the operating room when Paxton began suffering complications, which included excessive bleeding, shock, ventricular dysfunction, ventricular tachycardia (abnormal heart rhythm caused by irregular electrical signals) and a compromised right coronary artery.
Furthermore, they say Khoynezhad neglected to provide continuing care after he left and caused a delay in treatment and further cardiac damage by not returning to the OR after being notified of what was happening to Paxton.
According to the lawsuit, those factors resulted in Paxton having to undergo an emergency second surgery to repair the damaged coronary artery. His condition deteriorated over the next 10 days until he died.
Cedars-Sinai issued a statement to USA TODAY saying state and federal privacy laws prohibit the hospital from commenting about patient care without written authorization
"But we can share the following: Nothing is more important to Cedars-Sinai than the health and safety of our patients. These remain our top priorities. One of the reasons for our high quality is that we thoroughly review concerns about any patient’s medical care. This process ensures that we can continue to provide the highest quality care," the hospital statement said.
Messages to Khoynezhad were not returned.