Chris Cornell’s Widow Sues Doctor for Malpractice

Vicki Cornell, widow of late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, has filed a medical malpractice suit against his doctor, claiming that Dr. Robert Koblin “negligently and repeatedly” prescribed Cornell “dangerous mind-altering controlled substances… which impaired [his] cognition, clouded his judgement and caused him to engage in dangerous impulsive behaviors that he was unable to control, costing him his life.”

According to the suit, obtained by Rolling Stone, Koblin allegedly prescribed Cornell over 940 doses of the anti-anxiety drug Lorazepam (also known as Ativan) between September 2015 and his death by suicide in May 2017. At the same time, the suit claims, Koblin was prescribing Cornell Oxycodone, though it alleges that the doctor never conducted a medical examination of Cornell, performed any lab studies or clinical assessments. Cornell is suing for, among other charges, negligence, failure to obtain informed consent and willful misconduct.

A representative for Vicki Cornell declined to comment. Koblin and Robertson Cardiovascular Center, another defendant named in the suit, did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Cornell’s suit alleges that Koblin failed to warn the singer about possible side effects of Lorazepam. The drug can impair judgement and rational thinking, diminish impulse control and increase risk of suicide in addiction-prone individuals. The suit claims Koblin knew Cornell was an “addiction-prone individual,” because Koblin was referred to Cornell through Cornell’s therapist for substance abuse. In addition, the suit claims that Koblin allowed his non-physician staff to write many of Cornell’s prescriptions while unsupervised.

Vicki Cornell has frequently suggested that her husband’s suicide was the result of overprescribed medication. Recalling a conversation she had with Cornell hours before his death, she said, “I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him. What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details.”

The autopsy and toxicology reports released showed there were traces of seven different drugs in Cornell’s system at the time of his death, including a significant dose of Ativan. However, the medical examiner said the manner of death was suicide and that “drugs did not contribute to the cause of death.”

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