The Big Love star’s family and estate has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against surgeon Ali Khoynezhad and the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, according to court documents first obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Paxton’s family is accusing the doctor and the hospital of providing the actor with “negligent diagnosis, management, and treatment,” which they say led to the complications that resulted in the actor’s death last Feb. 25. He was 61.
According to the lawsuit, Cedars-Sinai “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.”
The family is also claiming that the hospital “failed to disclose that [Dr. 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.”
Furthermore, they allege that Dr. Khoynezhad was “not in the hospital” when Paxton “began suffering the complications” and failed to arrange for “continuous care and coverage” for the actor while he was away. This, the lawsuit alleges, caused “a delay in treatment resulting in damage.”
As a result the hospital and surgeon’s alleged negligence, Paxton had to undergo a series of procedures that ultimately led to his death 10 days later, according to the documents.
“Bill Paxton and his family trusted the physicians and staff at this medical facility but instead Cedars-Sinai betrayed their trust,” said the family’s attorney Bruce Broillet in a statement. “The surgeon’s actions resulted in this tragic and preventable death.”
According to the statement, Dr. Khoynezhad left his position as a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai shortly after Paxton’s death. “We are pursuing accountability and justice from a physician and a hospital that failed to adequately protect Mr. Paxton,” said another attorney for the plaintiffs, Steve Heimberg.
Cedars-Sinai issued a statement regarding the lawsuit to PEOPLE: “State and federal privacy laws prevent us from commenting about patient care without written authorization,” the hospital said.
“But we can share the following: Nothing is more important to Cedars-Sinai than the health and safety of our patients,” the statement continued. “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.”
Paxton died of a stroke last year after complications arose during heart surgery to replace a valve and correct an aortic aneurysm. According to the death certificate, the actor had surgery on Feb. 14 and died 11 days later, on the 25th, after suffering a stroke.
“It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery,” a family representative said in a statement at the time. “A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker. Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”
Paxton had a lengthy career in Hollywood and was beloved for his roles in the films Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), Tombstone (1993), Apollo 13 (1995), Twister (1996) and Titanic (1997) — and in 2012, the former star of HBO’s Big Love won an Emmy for his work in the TV mini-series Hatfields and McCoys.
The actor is survived by his two children, James and Lydia, and his wife of 30 years, Louise Paxton.