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Bill Paxton’s family blames surgeon, world-famous hospital for actor’s 2017 death

Nearing the anniversary of the death of actor Bill Paxton, his family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the surgeon and the world-famous Los Angeles hospital involved in the heart operation that triggered a fatal stroke.
The lawsuit was filed against surgeon Ali Khoynezhad and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, the Fort-Worth Star Telegram reported Monday . The Fort Worth-born actor, who starred in “Apollo 13” and “Titanic,” died Feb. 25, 2017 at age 61.
According to a news release from Paxton’s family, they contend that Khoynezhad performed an improper procedure that led to his death. The family also said that inactions by Cedars-Sinai contributed to the complications that led to the stroke.
“Bill Paxton and his family trusted the physicians and staff at this medical facility but instead Cedars-Sinai betrayed their trust,” the family’s attorney, Bruce Broillet, said in the release, according to the Fort-Worth Telegram. “The surgeon’s actions resulted in this tragic and preventable death.”
The official cause of Paxton’s death was a stroke, suffered 11 days after he underwent the surgery, according to a death certificate obtained last year by TMZ .
The death certificate showed that Paxton had undergone surgery on Feb. 14, 2017 to replace a heart valve and to correct an aortic aneurysm.
Paxton said in interviews that his heart troubles stemmed from a childhood illness . In an interview with Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast,  which dropped a week before his surgery, Paxton said he had suffered a bout of rheumatic fever as a seventh grader growing up in Fort Worth.
Rheumatic fever, an inflammatory disease that is most common in children, is known to cause heart valve disease, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Symptoms of heart valve damage often don’t appear until many years after recovery from rheumatic fever.
A report by USC’s Center for Health Journalism said that people with Paxton’s particular heart valve condition, known as a bicuspid valve, often have aortic aneurysms — a bulging of the aorta that can ultimately lead to a fatal rupture.
The USC report added that Paxton’s surgery likely resulted in something getting loosened up and traveling to the brain or a blood clot forming and traveling to the brain. In either case, a blockage caused a stroke later. “That’s one of the classic surgery risks and something that should be part of any conversation with a patient before a surgery,” the report said.
According to the complaint filed by Paxton’s family, the defendants “misrepresented and/or concealed information relating to the risks of surgery.” The defendants also didn’t adequately explain the risks associated with the “unconventional surgical approach” that Khoynezhad proposed using, for which “he lacked experience.”
The complaint added that Paxton suffered multiple complications and that Khoynezhad was not in the operating room at the time. The suit furthermore alleged that the doctor left “without arranging for continuous care and coverage.” When notified of the complications, he failed to return to the operating room in a timely way, “causing a delay in treatment resulting in damage,” the complaint said.
Khoynezhad left his position as a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai shortly after Paxton’s death, the family’s release said. Paxton was survived by Louis, his wife of 30 years, and two children.
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When Paxton told Marc Maron about suffering the rheumatic fever, he revealed that it often causes damage to heart valves. When Maron asked if the fever had caused such damage to Paxton, the actor said, almost reluctantly and painfully, “Well yeah. …. yeah, yeah, yeah.”
In addition to “Apollo 13” and “Titanic,” Paxton also appeared in “The Terminator” and “Twister” and starred on HBO’s series “Big Love.” He was starring in the TV series “Training Day” when he died.

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