Rock Star’s Family Sues for MalpracticePublished: Jan 16, 2019 in Medical Malpractice
The family of deceased Soundgarden singer and songwriter Chris Cornell is suing his former physician for allegedly over-prescribing medication. Cornell’s family is asserting that a high amount of Ativan led to his death.
The lawsuit names his physician and staff members, and was filed in Los Angeles Supreme Court, seeking unspecified damages. Cornell committed suicide by hanging himself in May of 2017; he was 52 years old.
Toxicology and autopsy report tests were released, showing amounts of barbiturates, the anti-opioid drug naloxone, and Ativan. Although the medical examiner stated the drugs in his system did not cause his death, Cornell’s wife claims that his doctor was negligent, and that Cornell was not exhibiting signs of wanting to take his own life. She said that Cornell was acting strangely the day of his suicide, slurring his words and not behaving rationally.
The lawsuit claims that the physician repeatedly prescribed Cornell dangerous substances, which over time affected his judgement and behavior. It alleges that Cornell was unable to control his actions, and the continued medication misuse ended his life. The suit claims that the doctor prescribed him Ativan in high doses, and oxycodone over a period of close to two years.
The lawsuit alleges that Cornell was not given medical exams, lab tests, or other clinical studies by the doctor during this time. It goes on to say that the doctor was aware that Cornell was prone to addiction, and that non-physician staff members wrote many of the prescriptions without supervision.
According to Cornell’s wife, he had a history of substance abuse, and his physician was aware of this. She believes that the doctor did not consult with Cornell throughout the treatment, and did not monitor his prescriptions.
Ativan Risks and Side Effects
Ativan is benzodiazepine, a strong sedative that works by reducing brain activity. Using it continuously for long periods of time may lead to tolerance, and patients may request increased dosages.
Conversely, if a patient stops taking it “cold turkey” or not slowly enough, withdrawal can be potentially fatal. From 2001 to 2014, the amount of benzodiazepine overdose deaths in this country increased by five times.
Like any other drug, Ativan, which is also called Lorazepam, can have side effects. It is FDA-approved to treat seizures and anxiety, and is also prescribed for sleep disorders and alcohol withdrawal. Some of Ativan’s main side effects are dizziness, fatigue, sleepiness, problems concentrating, and decreased coordination.
The less common side-effects, which are more dangerous, include difficulty speaking, allergic reactions, memory loss, depression, and thoughts of killing or harming one’s self.
The side effects and other complications can become more dangerous if the patient is combining Ativan with other medications. Some of these include oxycodone, antihistamines, codeine, and sleeping medications.
The family claims that the singer was not warned about the possible risks of taking Ativan.
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