Lawsuit filed in former Steelers player's death
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A lawyer representing the family of former Steelers player Dwight White filed a wrongful death suit today against UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Health System and three UPMC doctors, claiming that negligence and miscommunication led to the famed defensive end's death in 2008.
Art Schwarzwaelder, the lawyer for Mr. White's family, said that Mr. White was healthy before he underwent back surgery for a herniated disc and died less than a month later. He was 58.
A UPMC representative could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Schwarzwaelder said that Mr. White was initially hospitalized for a routine surgery on May 12, 2008. He said that after Mr. White came home, his condition worsened until his wife took him to the emergency room on May 17, where he was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lung's arteries. He was immediately transferred to the intensive care unit at UPMC Presbyterian, where he died on June 6.
The doctors named in the suit are Joseph Charles Maroon, Matt El-Kadi and Jigme Michael Sethi, said Mr. Schwarzwaelder.
"Dwight did not expect better care than anybody else -- just reasonable care, which all patients should receive in our community," said Mr. Schwarzwaelder. "His doctors and UPMC Presbyterian Hospital missed numerous opportunities to save his life. His death did not need to happen."
Mr. White played with the Steelers from 1971 to 1980. Alongside the legendary Steel Curtain defense, he helped produce four Super Bowl championships, and he is well-known for playing in the team's first Super Bowl victory -- against the Minnesota Vikings -- despite having been hospitalized with pneumonia. At the time of his death, he was the senior managing director of public finance for Mesirow Financial's Pittsburgh office.
In addition to his wife, Mr. White is survived by his 28-year-old daughter, Stacey White.
First Published February 1, 2010 9:43 pm