The family of a man who died after tonsil surgery is suing a La Mesa hospital alleging an incorrectly adjusted breathing tube caused the suffocation death.

The San Diego County Superior Court filed by relatives of 59-year-old Harvey Houtkin, who died in July at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, also alleges the hospital denied adjusting the tube in an attempt to cover up blame.

Sharp HealthCare spokesman John Cihomsky denies the allegations and a state investigation cleared the hospital of deficiencies in Houtkin's care.

The coroner says Houtkin died of an abscess near his tonsils, and family attorney Bruce Fagel says an airway obstruction led to the man's suffocation.