The Mighty Logo

Chris Cornell's Family Files Lawsuit Against Doctor They Say Contributed to His Suicide

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Chris Cornell’s wife, Vicky Cornell, and their children filed a lawsuit against Cornell’s doctor Thursday, following the musician’s suicide May 2017. Cornell’s family is suing Robert Koblin, MD, the doctor they claim over-prescribed Cornell medications.

Though the coroner didn’t report Cornell’s cause of death as an overdose, Cornell had barbiturates, lorazepam (Ativan), naloxone, caffeine and a decongestant in his system when he died. Barbiturates are a class of sedatives, lorazepam an anti-anxiety medication and naloxone an anti-opioid drug. Naloxone was administered by emergency services after he was found.

Dr. Koblin prescribed “dangerous mind-altering controlled substances” that led to Cornell’s “dangerous impulsive behaviors that he was unable to control, costing him his life,” the lawsuit, which was obtained by CNN, states. The lawsuit also claims Koblin prescribed the drugs repeatedly and in a negligent manner.

After the release of his toxicology report in June 2017, Vicky Cornell released a statement:

Many of us who know Chris well, noticed that he wasn’t himself during his final hours and that something was very off. We have learned from this report that several substances were found in his system. After so many years of sobriety, this moment of terrible judgment seems to have completely impaired and altered his state of mind. Something clearly went terribly wrong and my children and I are heartbroken and are devastated that this moment can never be taken back.

Cornell had a history of substance abuse. The lawsuit says that Koblin prescribed over 940 doses of lorazepam during the last 20 months leading up to his death but that Koblin hadn’t followed up with medical tests.

Koblin’s attorney, James Kjar, said in a statement to CNN, that Koblin is a “competent and conscientious doctor” who had an “excellent physician/patient relationship” with Cornell and his family.

“The experts I have consulted with believe Dr. Koblin’s treatment was within the standard of care in this community and were not a substantial factor in causing Mr. Cornell to commit suicide,” Kjar said.

Image via Wikimedia Commons/Bernard Stam

Originally published: November 2, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home