Former Jefferson Airplane singer Marty Balin sues hospital over botched surgery


A founder of the Jefferson Airplane lost part of his tongue and his left thumb during a botched surgery in New York, according to a lawsuit filed late Thursday.

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Marty Balin filed a suit in the Manhattan Federal Court, claiming his vocal cords were paralyzed and he lost half his tongue in a tracheotomy after open heart surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital on March 11, 2016, The New York Daily News reported.

Balin, 76, also charged in his lawsuit that the surgery took away his ability to play guitar or sing, the newspaper reported.
The lawsuit also names six doctors, Newsday reported. Balin, who wrote hits and sang lead on songs like “Miracles,” “Caroline” and “With Your Love,” needed emergency open heart surgery while he was performing. He claims he received inadequate care after his triple bypass and valve replacement, Newsday reported.

“The personnel in charge knew that the hospital was inadequately staffed, particularly in the recovery unit where Mr. Balin was sent after undergoing open heart surgery,” the lawsuit charges.

After the operation, Balin needed a tracheotomy that resulted in his tongue and vocal cords being damaged, the suit says. Tissue on his left thumb died, requiring it be amputated, the Daily News reported.

“Mr. Balin walked into the hospital able to speak and with fully functional left hand,” the suit says. “By the time Mr. Balin was finally released from the hospital, he had lost half his tongue so that he cannot speak or eat properly; he also has a paralyzed vocal cord; he has a necrotic left hand and has lost his left thumb; he had become totally disabled and has never recovered properly.”

The suit seeks unspecified damages, the Daily News reported.

“As a matter of policy, we cannot comment on the specifics of this case because it is a pending legal matter but we can share our highest priority is delivering the highest level of compassionate care to our patients,” a Mount Sinai spokeswoman told the Daily News.


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