The co-founder of the 1960s rock band Jefferson Airplane claimed in a lawsuit that a New York City hospital ruined his musical career with a botch tracheotomy after open-heart surgery in 2016.
Marty Balin, 76, filed a lawsuit against the operators of Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital alleging he lost part of his tongue and has a paralyzed vocal cord due to injuries caused by the doctor who did the procedure. The lawsuit also claimed his left thumb had to be amputated because of care that was “reckless, careless and negligent.”
The singer and guitarist was hospitalized in 2016 with heart problems after traveling from his home in Tampa, Fla., to New York City for a show at a Manhattan nightclub. He ended up having successful “open-heart surgery a triple bypass and a valve replacement,” the New York Post reported. However, a recovery unit wasn’t staffed with personnel who knew how to deal with his recovery, the suit stated.
The suit also alleged Balin suffered from bedsores and kidney damage as well. He needed dialysis and can’t “care for his special-needs daughter who has spina bifida,” the New York Post reported.
"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 had become totally disabled and has never recovered properly," the suit said.
Balin and his wife sued Thursday in federal court in Manhattan. They’re seeking unspecified damages.
A statement by the Mount Sinai Health System on Friday said it "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."
Balin and guitarist Paul Kantner formed Jefferson in San Francisco in the mid-1960s at the height of the psychedelic rock era. The band’s hits included “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.” Later in his career, Balin and Kantner teamed up again for the band’s successor group, Jefferson Starship. He left the band in 1978.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.