The widow of Soundgarden and Audioslave singer Chris Cornell, who took his own life in May 2017 at age 52, has filed a lawsuit against the musician’s doctor, alleging that the doctor was negligent in prescribing a drug to Cornell that ultimately led to his suicide.
In court papers filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Vicky Cornell accuses Robert Koblin, M.D., of “negligently and repeatedly prescribing dangerous mind-altering controlled substances to Chris Cornell which impaired Mr. Cornell’s cognition, clouded his judgment and caused him to engage in dangerous impulsive behaviors that he was unable to control, costing him his life. At the time of his death, Mr. Cornell had everything to live for and was planning a future of recordings, performances and continued work as a charitable activist.”
According to the suit, Koblin began prescribing Cornell, who had a “well-known history of past substance abuse and chemical dependency,” lorazepam beginning in 2015, despite the fact that the anti-anxiety drug, which has a brand name of Ativan, “is a controlled substance and a benzodiazepine well-known for its risk of addiction and the worsening of substance abuse issues with protracted unmonitored use.”
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Specifically, the suit cites the FDA as saying that addiction-prone individuals “should be under careful surveillance” when receiving lorazepam and that adverse reactions include “suicidal ideation/attempt.”
The suit says that Cornell was prescribed more than 940 doses of the drug, and also various doses of oxycodone.
“Yet, at no time during this period did Dr. Koblin conduct a medical examination of Mr. Cornell, perform any laboratory studies, obtain an interim history or do any type of clinical assessment of Mr. Cornell,” the suit reads. “He did not even physically see or speak to Mr. Cornell during this period.”
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Koblin’s office had no comment on the suit when contacted by TheWrap on Thursday.
“In someone with a history of substance abuse and/or an addictive disorder like Mr. Cornell, lorazepam was known to increase the risk of suicide by severely impairing judgment and rational thinking and by lessening impulse control,” the suit reads. “As a consequence of the wrongdoing alleged herein, the world lost a musical icon and the Cornell family lost a beloved father and husband.”
Alleging negligence, willful misconduct and other counts, the suit seeks unspecified damages.
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Cornell was found dead in a Detroit hotel room following a Soundgarden concert on Thursday. The cause of death was ruled suicide by hanging.
In her own statement issued after Cornell’s death, Vicky Cornell said she was blindsided by the news. “Chris’s death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled. As everyone who knew him commented, Chris was a devoted father and husband. He was my best friend. His world evolved around his family first and of course, his music, second. He flew home for Mother’s Day to spend time with our family.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.
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