Bill Paxton’s family is suing the world-renowned heart surgeon, who operated on him 11 days before his death, for a string of errors they claim led to complications and ultimately his death.
Ali Khoynezhad and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles have been named in a lawsuit brought by the Apollo 13 and Titanic star’s wife, Louise, and children.
The suit alleges that Khoynezhad performed an improper procedure during the heart surgery that Paxton, 61, underwent 11 days before he died on February 25, 2017, according to court documents seen by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Bill Paxton (right) died almost a year ago from complications of heart surgery. He is seen above with his wife, Louise, in 2016
Paxton’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the heart surgeon and the hospital which treated the late actor. Paxton is seen above with his wife, Louise, and their two children – James and Lydia – in 2011
Paxton’s official cause of death was listed as a stroke.
Shortly after Paxton’s death, Khoynezhad stepped down from his position as a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai.
‘We are pursuing accountability and justice from a physician and a hospital that failed to adequately protect Mr. Paxton,’ the family lawyer, Steve Heimberg, says in the release.
Paxton was survived by his wife of 30 years, Louise, and their two children, James and Lydia.
According to the lawsuit, both Khoynezhad and the hospital failed to clearly explain to the family the risks of an unconventional heart operation that Paxton underwent on February 14 of last year.
Paxton at the time was diagnosed with two specific heart-related ailments – bicuspid aortic valve and aortic aneurysm.
According to Paxton’s death certificate, the Twister star was born with a form of heart disease known as bicuspid aortic valve, ABC News reported.
Paxton died 11 days after undergoing heart surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles (seen above)
This birth defect leaves the aortic valve – the main artery from the heart that distributes oxygen-rich blood to the body – operating with just two small leaflets that help regulate blood flow as opposed to three in a healthy heart, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The condition is not considered debilitating and does not produce noticeable symptoms.
An aortic aneurysm is a bulge in a section of the aorta.
The lawsuit also names the surgeon who performed an operation on Paxton just before he died, Ali Khoynezhad
This condition is potentially life threatening since it can cause the aorta to burst, leading to massive bleeding and eventually death in a short amount of time.
Khoynezhad and the hospital recommended that Paxton undergo surgery for aortic aneurysm, according to the lawsuit.
‘Defendants … 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 [Khoynezhad] was going to use a high risk and unconventional surgical approach with which he lacked experience and which was, based upon information and belief, beyond the scope of his privileges,’ the family alleges in the lawsuit.
The family says that after the operation, Paxton started to have complications.
During these complications, Khoynezhad wasn’t even at the hospital, ‘causing a delay in treatment resulting in damage,’ the lawsuit alleges.
Cedars-Sinai released a statement on Tuesday saying: ‘State and federal privacy laws prevent us from commenting about patient care without written authorization.’
Nonetheless, ‘[n]othing is more important to Cedars-Sinai than the health and safety of our patients. These remain our top priorities.
‘One of the reasons for our high quality is that we thoroughly review concerns about any patient’s medical care.
‘This process ensures that we can continue to provide the highest quality care.’
Khoynezhad has been practicing medicine for over two decades and is considered an internationally renowned heart surgeon, according to US News and World Report.
He is currently working for MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center in Los Angeles.
A spokesperson for MemorialCare said all questions on the operation should be referred to Cedars-Sinai and that Khoynezhad is ‘in good standing with our organization.’
Paxton rose to stardom in such Hollywood blockbusters as Titanic and inspired budding meteorologists as a tornado chaser in Twister.
Paxton, who appeared in more than 90 films or television shows over four decades, had recently starred in the HBO television series Big Love about a polygamous Mormon family
Paxton, who appeared in more than 90 films or television shows over four decades, had recently starred in the HBO television series Big Love about a polygamous Mormon family, and acted alongside Tom Cruise in the 2014 film Edge of Tomorrow.
For his role in Apollo 13, Paxton won a Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture in 1996.
The son of a Texas businessman, Paxton had a brush with history on Nov. 22, 1963, when as an 8-year-old he saw President John F. Kennedy speak outside a Fort Worth hotel hours before Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
A photo of Paxton held above the crowd to catch a glimpse of the president became famous, and 50 years later, Paxton narrated the documentary JFK: The Final Hours.