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Singer Chris Cornell’s Widow Sues Doctor, Alleging Malpractice

The widow of the late Soundgarden star Chris Cornell is suing his doctor, claiming the physician “negligently and repeatedly” prescribed “dangerous mind-altering controlled substances” that led to the singer’s death by suicide.

Vicky Cornell’s malpractice and willful misconduct suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Dr. Robert Koblin prescribed 940 doses of the tranquilizer lorazepam in 20 months to Cornell, who had a history of substance problems, yet failed to carry out any medical exam or blood test. Koblin also prescribed the addictive opioid oxycodone, according to the suit.

The drugs caused Cornell to “engage in dangerous impulsive behaviors that he was unable to control, costing him his life,” says the lawsuit, obtained by Rolling Stone and CNN. Cornell was not warned of the drugs’ risks, the suit says.

Cornell, 52, was found dead in a Detroit hotel room after a performance in May 2017. The death was ruled suicide.

Koblin’s attorney said the prescriptions were appropriate.

“The experts I have consulted with believe Dr. Koblin’s treatment was within the standard of care in this community and were not a substantial factor in causing Mr. Cornell to commit suicide,” attorney James Kjar said in a statement to CNN.

An autopsy found several drugs in Cornell’s body, including Ativan, also known as lorazepam. The drug can impair judgment, diminish impulse control and may be linked to an increased risk of self-harm, researchers have found.

Vicky Cornell said in an interview this year that her husband showed symptoms of drug impairment during performances and in daily life before his death, including forgetfulness and confusion. She said she doesn’t believe he intentionally killed himself.

“He wanted to be there for his family, for his children,” she told Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America.” “He loved his life. He would never have ever left this world. I don’t think that he could make any [rational] decisions because of the level of impairment.”

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

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