The widow of Soundgarden singer claims malpractice against his doctor who prescribed medication she claims contributed to her husband’s death. She has filed a medical negligence suit in the Los Angeles Supreme Court. Vicky Cornell, the widow of Chris Cornell, alleges that Dr. Robert Koblin was willfully negligent when prescribing her late husband anti-anxiety medicine. Vicky Cornell states that Dr. Koblin prescribed over 940 doses of an anti-anxiety drug called Ativan and, Oxycodone, a painkiller, between September 2015 and May 2017 without first examining him.
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) advocates for a physical examination as the basis for prescribing and dispensing controlled substances. This condition should be enforced by the state. Cornell rose to fame after forming the highly popular band, Soundgarden, with Hiro Yamamoto, Kim Thayil and, Scott Sundquist in 1984. The band redefined the rock industry by popularising a new style of rock known as grunge. They broke up in 1997.
Cornell went on to form Audioslave with Rage Against the Machine members in 2001. The band recorded a number of songs before eventually breaking up in 2006. Popular hits by the singer include songs like ‘Scar on the Sky’ and ‘Before We Disappear’, which have been interpreted by many as Cornell expressing his battle with depression.
Cornell was 52-years old when he died. He was found dead by his bodyguard in his hotel room shortly after performing at a show in Detroit. It is believed he used an exercise band to hang himself. The released toxicology reports show that at the time of death Cornell had several drugs in his system, including Ativan that was prescribed by his doctor. However, the cause of death was determined to be suicide and not an overdose.
The lawsuit further claims that the doctor allowed his staff – who do not have the proper physician license – to write prescriptions for Cornell. Court documents seen by various news outlets described Cornell as “an addiction-prone individual” due to the fact that he was referred to Koblin by his therapist. The therapist was treating Chris for substance abuse. It is common practice for medical personnel to share patient information amongst one another if it leads to the quick recovery of the patient. Vicky believes that Koblin never attempted to warn Cornell about the possible side effects of the drugs he prescribed.
The lawsuit documents add that Ativan can increase the risk of suicide in individuals struggling with substance abuse by impairing their judgment. Vicky refutes the claim that Cornell was suicidal. She describes him as a happy person. She is more than convinced that he was fine because she spoke to him that night. She describes his speech that night as slurred. She says that he admitted to taking “one or two” Ativan pills. She asked his bodyguard to keep a close eye on him.
It is not clear how much Vicky Cornell and her children are seeking in damages. Chris Cornell’s oldest daughter, Toni Cornell, is 18 years old and she is heir to her father’s estate. The final court hearing is slated for the 28th of October 2021.