October 14, 2014

162017_132140396847214_292624_nMarvin Hamlisch, the internationally famed composer and conductor, died at the age of 68 on August 6, 2012, after collapsing and slipping into a coma following a flight from New York to Los Angeles. Mr. Hamlisch never woke up from his coma and he died five days later. The defendant doctor was responsible for monitoring Mr. Hamlisch following Mr. Hamlisch’s kidney transplant surgery that took place on February 14, 2012.

According to the New York medical malpractice lawsuit filed by Mr. Hamlisch’s wife on her own behalf and on behalf of the estate of her husband, Mrs. Hamlisch had contacted the defendant physician on July 2, 2012, and on numerous occasions thereafter, to advise him that her husband was gravely ill. The defendant allegedly told her that her husband’s symptoms were due to back pain and anxiety, without ever physically examining Mr. Hamlisch between July 3 and July 30, 2012.

Another physician admitted Mr. Hamlisch to the hospital on July 23, 2012, due to concern regarding his appearance. The defendant physician discharged Mr. Hamlisch from the hospital on July 30, 2012, after the defendant returned from a vacation, and allegedly advised Mrs. Hamlisch that her husband’s symptoms were due to back pain and anxiety, assuring her that it was “perfectly safe” for her husband to fly to California two days later.

The New York medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the defendant physician and the defendant hospital were medically negligent, having failed to provide a proper diagnosis, having discharged Mr. Hamlisch from the hospital despite medical tests that indicated he had a dangerously low level of magnesium and other abnormal findings, by negligently failing to order treatment for hypomagnesia, and that the defendant physician was negligent in advising Mr. Hamlisch that it was safe for him to fly to California.

The wife’s medical malpractice lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages, punitive damages,  pre- and post-judgment interest, the costs of suit, and attorney’s fees.

Update: The defendants’ motion for summary judgment in the New York medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit was denied by an Order and Decision dated March 5, 2021: “There is a sharp factual dispute as to the cause of Hamlisch’s death. The expert opinion of the plaintiff’s retained pathologist is supported by the facts otherwise developed by the parties’ submissions. There is also a sharp factual dispute as to whether the simultaneous prescription and administration of amiodarone, tacrolimus, and colchicine to Hamlisch, and the consequent buildup of those drugs in Hamlisch’s blood over several months, without a medical response to the bloodwork results from Cohen and the NYPH physicians treating Hamlisch in July 2012, both significantly decreased Hamlisch’s blood levels of magnesium and other electrolytes, and increased the likelihood of heart arrhythmia or heart failure. In addition, there are triable issues of fact as to whether these acts and omissions were a substantial contributing factor to Hamlisch’s heart stoppage and death. The court further notes that the defendants, in their motion, did not fully or adequately address the plaintiff’s allegations that Cohen departed from good and accepted standards of medical care in failing to consult with a transplant pharmacist or refer Hamlisch to a transplant pharmacist to review and discuss the reactions and indications of the medications that he had been prescribed. Hence, the defendants’ motion for summary judgment must be denied.”


About Marvin Hamlisch

Marvin Hamlisch was born on June 2, 1944. He was a graduate of the Julliard School of Music and Queens College. Mr. Hamlisch had composed more than forty motion picture scores, including The Way We Were, The Sting, Sophie’s Choice, and Ordinary People. Mr. Hamlisch was the recipient of many major awards, including three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, three Golden Globe awards, and a Tony award. He had just completed the musical score for Liberace — Behind The Candelabra, at the time of his death.

Mr. Hamlisch had been the principal pops conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Pasadena Symphony and Pops, the Seattle Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, The Buffalo Philharmonic, and The National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. He was preparing to become the principal pops conductor for The Philadelphia Orchestra at the time of his death.


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