Late Steeler Dwight White's family sues UPMC, doctors
The family of the late Pittsburgh Steelers star Dwight White has filed a malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against UPMC and its top neurosurgeon, Dr. Joseph C. Maroon.
In the 18-page complaint filed Monday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, White's widow, Karen, and his daughter, Stacey, charged that doctors and other staff failed to properly diagnose and treat White when he suffered a pulmonary embolism after routine back surgery.
Family attorney Arthur L. Schwarzwaelder said White's treatment was "a sad story of missed opportunities resulting in an entirely preventable death."
White, who had been a patient of Maroon's for at least 11 years, underwent surgery for a herniated disc on May 13, 2008, in UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland, according to the suit.
The two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman was discharged the next day, but, the suit charges, steps that could have prevented his death had been delayed or omitted.
White returned home and soon afterward "his symptoms and weakness progressed to where he was essentially bedridden."
Attempts to reach Maroon by Karen White failed because he was out of town, the complaint charges. Another physician then prescribed an over-the-counter medication. Later, another aide to Maroon prescribed a laxative.
On May 17, White was taken to UPMC St Margaret near Aspinwall by his wife, who had become increasingly concerned despite the lack of response from his doctors. White was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism.
After a transfer to UPMC Presbyterian's intensive care unit, White's condition, the suit states, "was eminently treatable as long as he received proper care."
The family charges that physicians prescribed a blood thinning agent, but failed to monitor its effects in violation of the hospital's own protocols.
The complaint charges that White's condition worsened and efforts to save his life through surgery failed.
White, of O'Hara, who died on June 6, 2008, at age 58, was part of the Steelers' famed Steel Curtain defense and was nicknamed "Mad Dog." He retired in 1980 and became a financial consultant.
Schwarzwaelder said that the UPMC physicians "missed multiple opportunities" to prevent White's death.
UPMC officials said last night that they had just learned about the lawsuit and had no comment.
In addition to Maroon and UPMC, the suit names as defendants Drs. Matt El-Kadi and Jigme Sethi and Tri State Neurological Associates.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers’ defense on pace for fewest sacks in 16-game season
- Steelers notebook: No-huddle gets limited use vs. Texans
- Starkey: Century mark beckons for Ben
- Nearing season’s midpoint, Steelers still have issues to sort out
- Steelers’ Pouncey, brother won’t be charged in July fracas
- Texans’ Watt to challenge Steelers’ offensive line
- Rookie Bryant sparks deep passing game for Steelers in victory
- Steelers notebook: Adams replaces concussed Gilbert
- Snapshot in time: Comparing Cowher, Tomlin drafts
- Steelers’ Haley unfazed by criticism
- Steelers rookie Tuitt prepares for big role