In June 2011, rock and roll fans around the world were saddened by the news that Clarence Clemons, the renowned saxophonist in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, had passed away from a stroke. At the time, it was reported that stroke occurred due to complications following surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. However, recent news of a medical malpractice lawsuit, first discovered by entertainment website Showbiz411.com, reveals that Clemons' family believes his doctors are to blame for the musician's death.
Chronic pain was nothing new for 69-year-old Clarence Clemons, who had previously suffered a minor heart attack, as well as undergone spinal fusion surgery and several joint replacements. But when he began to lose sensation in his index finger and thumb, Clemons worried about his ability to continue performing and opted for carpal tunnel surgery. That surgery appears to have been successful--the hand surgeon who performed the procedure is not named in the lawsuit. Instead, the complaint names three specialists involved with the case, as well as the Palm Beach Cancer Center, where the procedure took place.
In the medical malpractice claim brought by William Clemons, Clarence's brother, lawyers allege that the three specialists associated with the case made mistakes regarding Clemons' medication that led to his stroke and eventual death. According to the complaint, Clemons was advised to go off his blood-thinning drugs before surgery, which is a common practice. However, no short-term blood-thinners were prescribed before or after surgery to make up for the medication Clemons was missing. The family alleges that this medication error caused Clemons' stroke and could have easily been prevented.
Now, nearly two years after Clemons' death, the malpractice case against the three doctors and the Palm Beach Cancer Center has been approved for a jury trial in Florida. Unfortunately, medication errors are common. In 2006, the Institute of Medicine reported 1.5 million preventable medication errors--and can often lead to serious injury, or as alleged in Clarence Clemons' case, even death. Due to the high-profile nature of the plaintiff's family, this case is likely to receive national attention. Perhaps this will bring much needed attention to unnecessary medication errors which needlessly cost the lives of patients in our country every day.
The Guardian, E Street Band Saxophonist's Death Due to Medical Negligence, Claims Family, 3-7-13
Showbiz411.com, Family of Springsteen Band's Clarence Clemons Pursuing Malpractice Claim Against Doctors, 3-5-13