by Michael Sacopulos, JD; General Counsel, Medical Justice
From Mary-Poppins to Michael Jackson, below are ten unbelievable, shocking, horrific malpractice cases from the past decade.
The King of Pop died in 2009 as a result of an overdose of the sedative Propofol. The drug was administered by Dr. Conrad Murray who was convicted in 2011 for involuntary manslaughter for the death. Jackson’s death triggered a flurry of litigation. In January 2011, Michael’s father, Joe Jackson, filed a wrongful death action against Dr. Murray and the pharmacy which supplied the Propofol. A separate action was initiated by Michael’s mother, Catherine Jackson, against the concert promoter AEG Live LLC. AEG Live employed Dr. Murray for Michael Jackson, at the rate of $150,000 per month. This suit remains pending.
Hulk Hogan the professional wrestling star of both screen and ring, filed a $50 million dollar medical malpractice action against the Laser Spine Institute in January 2013. The “Hulkster” allegedly underwent unnecessary endoscopic surgical procedures that destabilized his spine and damaged his career. This lawsuit remains pending.
For 30-years Ed McMann was Johnny Carson’s side kick. He was also the famous face of Publisher Clearinghouse’s “Prize Patrol.” On March 12th, 2007 he fell at his home and went to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California. He later alleged that physicians at Cedars-Sinai failed to diagnosis his broken neck and discharged him without taking an x-ray. Ultimately, the malpractice case was settled for an undisclosed amount.
In March of 2013, NBC television show host and physician Dr. Oz was named in a medical malpractice action by a viewer. Frank Dietl alleges that his feet were severely burned when he attempted a home remedy that was described by Dr. Oz on his show. The suit remains pending.
Emmy and Golden Globe winner, John Ritter, is best remembered for his television series “Three’s Company” and “Eight Simples Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.” Ritter died in September of 2003 of an aortia dissection. His family initiated a lawsuit against a variety of medical providers. It is reported that the family settled claims against most providers for $14 million dollars. A claim went forward against a radiologist and ultimately resulted in a defense verdict in favor of the radiologist.
Country music star LeAnn Rimes filed a malpractice action against her dentist, Dr. Dwayne McKay. The lawsuit claims that Dr. McKay did poor work over a three year time period which left Rimes in severe pain and in need of multiple root canals, bone graft and even physical therapy. She claims permanent cosmetic deficiency as a result of Dr. McKay’s negligence. This suit was filed in February 2013 and remains pending.
Oscar winning actress, Julie Andrews, is best known for her roles in the Sound of Music and Mary-Pippins. In 2005 Andrews sued several physicians at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital. The suit alleges that she was unable to sing professionally following procedures performed at that hospital. Andrews’ suit ultimately, settled for an undisclosed amount.
Comedian and movie star, Dana Carvey, filed a malpractice action against his cardiovascular surgeon in 1998. Carvey alleged that his surgeon operated on the wrong artery. This allegedly necessitated additional care and time off of work. It is reported that Carvey ultimately settled the malpractice action for $8 million dollars. The settlement funds were given to charity.
Dr. Drew Pinsky is famous for his nationally syndicated radio show Loveline and for his program “Dr. Drew” on CNN’s HLN Network. This is perhaps the most bizarre medical malpractice action on this list involves Dr. Drew. He was sued by Charles Pearson. Pearson accused Dr. Drew of not only of medical malpractice of also of mail fraud, auction tampering, and computer trespass. The claim was filed in 2009 was ultimately dismissed in January 2010.
Movie actor Dennis Quaid, has appeared in dozens of movies. In 2007, Dennis Quaid and his wife had twins at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in California. The twins were to receive Heparin, an blood thinner, for medical condition. Through an alleged dosing error, Quad’s infant twins received 10,000 units instead of 10units of Heparin. It is reported that the Quaid’s action against Cedar-Sinai settled for $750,000 in 2009.