The parents of a five-time Jeopardy! champion are suing for medical malpractice after their 24-year-old son died in February following colorectal surgery.

Brayden Smith was considered the ‘last great champion’ of legendary host Alex Trebek, who died on November 8, 2020, age 80.

Smith taped his final appearances in October 2020, and died of blood clots to his lungs in February 2021, three weeks after surgery to treat his ulcerative colitis. 

The Nevada-born contestant’s death shocked fans of the show, and on Monday The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that his family were suing two hospitals in their home town of Henderson, Nevada. 

Brayden Smith, 24, is seen in October 2020 during his fifth appearance on Jeopardy!

Brayden Smith, 24, is seen in October 2020 during his fifth appearance on Jeopardy!

Brayden Smith, 24, is seen in October 2020 during his fifth appearance on Jeopardy!

Smith, far left, is seen with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek in one of the final episodes Trebek recorded before his November 2020 death

Smith, far left, is seen with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek in one of the final episodes Trebek recorded before his November 2020 death

Smith, far left, is seen with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek in one of the final episodes Trebek recorded before his November 2020 death

The lawsuit alleges Dr Godwin Ofikwu (pictured) ordered 'anticoagulation' drugs to stop dangerous blood clots forming, but there was no specific order for anticoagulants such as heparin

The lawsuit alleges Dr Godwin Ofikwu (pictured) ordered 'anticoagulation' drugs to stop dangerous blood clots forming, but there was no specific order for anticoagulants such as heparin

The lawsuit alleges Dr Godwin Ofikwu (pictured) ordered ‘anticoagulation’ drugs to stop dangerous blood clots forming, but there was no specific order for anticoagulants such as heparin

Doctor accused of botching post-surgery recovery of Jeopardy! contestant is award-winning surgeon from Nigeria 

Dr Godwin Ofikwu is being sued by the parents of Jeopardy! contestant Brayden Smith for allegedly not ordering a specific anticoagulation drug following his colorectal surgery, which they believe led to his death in February 2021. 

Ofikwu graduated from medical school at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, in the year 2000 – where he received an award for being the Best Graduating Medical Student in Surgery.

Between 2010 and 2015 he held an internship and residency in General Surgery, Columbia University at Harlem Hospital in New York.

According to the CSAN website, he is fluent in English, Idoma and Hausa.

His other work experience includes:

• Surgical Oncology Resident, Colorectal, Hepato-Biliary, Gastric and Mixed Tumor, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NY, 2013

• Colorectal surgery Fellow, Ferguson Clinic, Michigan State University, Michigan, 2015-2016

• Board Certified by American Board of Surgery, 2015  

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Scott and Debbie Smith filed the lawsuit against Dignity Health; the hospital in Henderson, Nevada, where he was operated on – St. Rose Dominican Hospital, Siena campus; Fidelity Home Health Services; two physicians; and the St. Rose nursing staff.

They said that Smith suffered from ulcerative colitis, and was ill in 2019. 

Smith was hospitalized in December 2020 and January 2021.

‘He was malnourished, was extremely weak, and was a very ill young man,’ the lawsuit states. 

‘His last days were a nightmare. His death was preordained by the misconduct of doctors and nurses. 

‘None of this had to be.’

Smith was told that he needed a procedure known as an abdominal colectomy with an end ileostomy, which sees the patient’s colon removed. 

Afterward, the lawsuit alleges, Dr Godwin Ofikwu ordered ‘anticoagulation’ drugs to stop dangerous blood clots forming, but there was no specific order for anticoagulants such as heparin. 

Smith later succumbed to a condition known as pulmonary emboli, or blood clots on the lungs. 

Kevin Beiermeister, a California-based colon and rectal surgeon, was among the experts hired by the Smith family’s lawyers to investigate the care.

Beiermeister and his colleagues found that Smith’s treatment ‘fell below the standard of care.’ 

‘It appears that Brayden was not given any anticoagulants at all,’ Beiermeister said in his declaration, adding that ‘in a surgery such as this, the standard of care requires both mechanical and chemical anticoagulation.’

Beiermeister said that anticoagulants were standard treatment. 

‘The medical literature is clear that patients undergoing colorectal surgery as compared to general surgery have a significant increase in the risk of emboli,’ he wrote.

Ofikwu and Dr Irfana Razzaq, a hospitalist, are named as defendants in the lawsuit. 

Beiermeister claimed that Razzaq did not ensure that anticoagulants were given to Smith.

‘The nursing notes do not indicate that anyone on the nursing staff inquired as to this issue,’ Beiermeister wrote. 

Scott and Debbie Smith, Brayden's parents, have filed the medical malpractice suit

Scott and Debbie Smith, Brayden's parents, have filed the medical malpractice suit

Scott and Debbie Smith, Brayden’s parents, have filed the medical malpractice suit

Smith was operated on at the St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson, Nevada (pictured), shortly before his death

Smith was operated on at the St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson, Nevada (pictured), shortly before his death

Smith was operated on at the St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson, Nevada (pictured), shortly before his death

Another expert retained by the family, Tara Bohannon, a California-based nurse, filed a declaration with the lawsuit stating that Smith was sent home without sufficient post-operation care.

‘He did not go home with sufficient knowledge, and it is my understanding that this was significantly frustrating to Brayden,’ Bonhannon wrote. 

‘He also did not go home with sufficient and proper supplies.’

The hospital told the paper that they have not yet reviewed the case so are unable to comment. 

Source: Daily Mail

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