As the one-year anniversary of Fort Worth-born actor Bill Paxton’s death approaches, his family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the California hospital where he died.
The lawsuit alleges that the heart complications that ultimately took Paxton’s life were a result of negligence by the hospital and the surgeon who operated on him. Paxton died Feb. 25, 2017, just 11 days after having heart surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
The hospital “misrepresented and/or concealed information relating to the risks of surgery and care that would be provided and/or failed to adequately explain the proposed treatment or procedure and/or failed to disclose that [surgeon] Ali Khoynezhad was going to use a high-risk and unconventional surgical approach with which he lacked experience and which was … beyond the scope of his privileges,” the lawsuit alleges.
Paxton sought treatment from Khoynezhad and the hospital for heart conditions that included bicuspid aortic valve and aortic aneurysm. The lawsuit says surgery for aortic aneurysm, but that, “based upon information and belief, heart surgery was not indicated” as a necessary treatment.
The suit points to alleged failures in treating Paxton and in supervision. It contends that, when Paxton began experiencing complications, Khoynezhad had left the operating room -- and possibly left the hospital -- “without arranging for continuous care and coverage.”
Dr. Khoynezhad left his position as a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai shortly after Paxton's death, according to a news release obtained by the Star-Telegram.
"We are pursuing accountability and justice from a physician and a hospital that failed to adequately protect Mr. Paxton," plaintiff attorney Steve Heimberg says in the release.
Paxton, who attended Aledo High School and later Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth, got his start in films in the art department on Roger Corman movies in the '70s before getting a chance to go in front of the camera.
He quickly became a favorite of director James Cameron through the '80s and '90s, appearing in films such as The Terminator, Aliens and Titanic. After his death last year, storm chasers across the plains paid tribute to Paxton and his role in the movie Twister by spelling his initials on GPS imagery.
The actor is survived by his two children, James and Lydia, and his wife of 30 years, Louise Paxton.