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Chris Cornell, former frontman for the famous grunge band, Soundgarden, died in 2017 by hanging himself. Though the cause of death is not in dispute, the singer's wife and his family have filed a suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the doctor that allegedly over-prescribed him lorazepam for medical malpractice and willful misconduct.
Cornell's autopsy toxicology report showed the presence of lorazepam, along with barbiturates, caffeine, the anti-opioid drug naloxone, and a decongestant. Cornell's family said that he never once appeared suicidal prior to the lorazepam, and blames Cornell's physician, Dr. Robert Koblin, for over-prescribing lorazepam. The plaintiffs claim that this over-prescription led to erratic behavior from the singer before his death, and they are ready to prove a tie between the two.
Indeed, the suit alleges Koblin prescribed 940 doses of the tranquilizer lorazepam in 20 months to Cornell. The singer already had a history of substance abuse, yet the doctor never gave the singer a medical exam or blood test to confirm he wasn't being over-medicated. The suit also alleges that Koblin prescribed oxycodone, an opioid, as well, though only an anti-opioid drug was found in the singer's body at the time of death.
One of the most famous cases involving musicians and over-prescription of mood altering medications is Michael Jackson. In that case, Dr. Conrad Murray confessed to over-prescribing propofol and lorazepam for the pop star. He was sentenced to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, and was later sued by Michael's father, Joe, for wrongful death. Joe dropped that suit. Michael's mother sued concert promoter AEG for negligently hiring Murray, but the jury found in favor of AEG.
Another case still pending is in the death of the musician formerly known as Prince. Prince died of an accidental opioid overdose. He thought he was taking Vicatin, but it turned out he wasn't. That lawsuit takes aim at the hospital that treated him for an overdose just the week prior. They claim the hospital gave Prince the wrong medication, and that Walgreens, another defendant in the suit, filled the prescription for an "invalid medical purpose."
If you or someone you love seems to have died from an overdose of medication prescribed by a doctor, you may be able to file a medical malpractice or willful misconduct suit. Contact a local medical malpractice attorney today to review the facts of your case, and see if there is any viable cause of action. It can happen, even to rock stars.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.