Lorazepam, Oxycodone, Informed Consent, and Chris Cornell

Singer Chris Cornell’s widow filed a medical malpractice suit against his cardiologist alleging negligent prescription of dangerous controlled substances which led to Cornell’s suicide. The complaint describes the cardiologist prescribing Cornell more than 940 doses of the anti-anxiety drug Lorazepam (Ativan) between 2015 and his death in 2017. The lawsuit claims the cardiologist was also prescribing Cornell Oxycodone at the same time without conducting a medical examination of the singer, lab studies or clinical assessments.  The suit also claims the cardiologist knew Cornell was an “addiction-prone individual” but allowed unsupervised staff to write many of his prescriptions. 

Mrs. Cornell is suing for negligence and failure to obtain informed consent because the cardiologist did not warn the singer about the side effects of Lorazepam. Documented side effects include damage to rational thinking and an increased risk of suicide in addiction-prone patients. Mrs. Cornell saw her husband’s behavior deteriorate and his level of impairment increase while on the prescribed drugs.

When a physician breaches a duty to a patient, the patient may argue a cause of action for negligence.  Nolo.com explains how failure to warn a patient of known risks may lead to malpractice.

Doctors have a duty to warn patients of known risks of a procedure or course of treatment — this is known as the duty of informed consent. If a patient, once properly informed of possible risks, would have elected not to go through with the procedure, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice if the patient is injured by the procedure (in a way that the doctor should have warned could happen).

An injured party suing a doctor for negligence and failure to obtain informed consent must hire a medical expert to analyze the facts of the case and present an unbiased opinion to the court. Not only are medical malpractice laws complicated, but regulations vary by jurisdiction. Challenging assignments require an experienced board-certified medical expert witness from a top university medical center. To secure a hand-selected cardiology expert witness, please contact Elite Medical Experts and speak with a physician or nurse on Elite’s Case Strategy Team today.