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Medical Malpractice Happens to Celebrities – Part II

October 4, 2021

Comedians, pop stars, and “regular joes” have the same types of legal problems. Some may involve estate planning, and others may concern taxes. Another problem that isn’t limited to just your “average joe” is injury from medical errors and the negligence of healthcare professionals.

Medical malpractice can affect just about anyone. Let’s look at what happened to some famous folks in Part II of our series about medical malpractice and celebrities.

Hulk Hogan. The “Hulkster” had back and spinal surgery in 2009. Doctors performed a laser spine procedure where they burned away nerve ends and bone to prevent the pro wrestler from feeling pain. However, when the nerve ends grew back, the pain returned. As a result, he had less support in his back from bone. After a number of surgeries over the course of 19 months, he sued his doctors and the spinal care facility for $50 million, claiming that the procedures were unnecessary. Hogan also said that his surgeries left him unable to wrestle and did little else but to relieve some of his pain. The Hulk was unable to work for almost two years. The case was just filed recently, and no resolution has yet been reported.

Joan Rivers. The outspoken comedian was the star of Fashion Police on E! television. Her career was going strong when she went in for what was thought to be a routine endoscopy in New York in 2014. The endoscopy was performed in an outpatient setting. But Rivers experienced serious complications and stopped breathing during the minor throat procedure. She was resuscitated an hour later and moved to Mount Sinai Hospital in East Harlem and later put on life support. Rivers died a few weeks later, never having awakened from a medically induced coma. After nearly a two-month investigation, authorities found that the clinic committed several errors before and during the procedure, including failure to respond to Rivers’ deteriorating vital signs, possibly administering an incorrect anesthetic dosage, performing a surgical procedure without her consent, and other medical-clinic irregularities. Joan’s daughter Melissa filed a malpractice lawsuit against the clinic and the doctors who performed surgery on her mother. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount.

Kylie Minogue. The Australian singer and actress developed breast cancer in 2005 and underwent treatment. She said she was cancer-free. However, Minogue says her doctor missed her breast cancer, and she only learned about the misdiagnosis when she went back for a second opinion several weeks later. Minogue quickly had a lumpectomy to remove the small tumor, followed by chemo.

Dick Schaap. The famous sportscaster underwent routine hip replacement surgery in New York at Lenox Hill Hospital in 2001. But while at the hospital, he contracted an infection and died three months later at the age of 67. His widow filed a lawsuit, and a jury found the cardiologist negligent and awarded $1.9 million in 2005. The jury also found that two other doctors at the Manhattan hospital were not responsible even though they’d been accused of failing to follow standard medical practice in caring for Schaap, who went into respiratory distress after the operation to replace his left hip.

Ed McMahon. Johnny Carson’s longtime sidekick on The Tonight Show sued Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and his doctors, claiming they failed to diagnose his broken neck after a fall and discharged him without taking an X-rays. He also accused the hospital of bungling two subsequent spine operations. Ed said he suffered months of discomfort and pain. In 2009, he settled for an undisclosed amount.


As you can see, even celebrities, who you would assume receive top-notch care, can be victims of medical malpractice. Medical mistakes and the resulting injuries can happen to anyone.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or death in surgery, you may bring a lawsuit for damages. For a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. We can discuss your situation if you believe you’ve been injured as the result of a medical error.

Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after-hours, at home or in the hospital to accommodate you.

Contact us today!