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Actor's family sues hospital, surgeon over post-surgery death

Among the many celebrity deaths of 2017 was one that shocked and saddened many people --that of 61-year-old actor Bill Paxton. Paxton, known for roles in movies like Aliens and the television series Big Love, died on Feb. 25 of last year. He had undergone heart surgery a few days prior. His cause of death was listed as a stroke.

Now, just under a year later, the actor's family has filed a wrongful death suit against his surgeon and Cedars-Sinai -- the Los Angeles hospital where the surgery was performed. The family's attorney called Paxton's death "tragic and preventable." The allegations by Paxton's wife of three decades and his two children are ones that many surviving loved ones here in West Virginia and around the country can relate to all too well.

According to the lawsuit, Paxton's doctor used "a high risk and unconventional surgical approach with which he lacked experience." The family also claims that the defendants "misrepresented and/or concealed information relating to the risks of surgery." These factors, they say, contributed to the complications Paxton developed following the surgery.

The hospital hasn't commented specifically about the case or the circumstances surrounding the actor's death, citing privacy laws. Their statement said that "the health and safety of our patients….remain our top priorities." The statement went on to say 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 family attorney, however, stated, "Bill Paxton and his family trusted the physicians and staff at this medical facility but instead Cedars-Sinai betrayed their trust."

Patients and their families have to be able to trust that medical professionals are giving them complete and accurate information at every point in the process of their medical care. In some cases, when immediate surgery is required, they don't have time to do independent research that might help them make a more informed decision or ask more questions.

When family members believe that a loved one's death was caused by medical malpractice, it's essential to seek legal guidance as soon as possible to ensure that if a claim is warranted, it's filed within the statute of limitations.

Source: CNN, "Bill Paxton's family files wrongful death suit," Sandra Gonzalez, Feb. 13, 2018

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