John Slattery (external - login to view)


(CBS) NEW YORK The family of 50s songwriter, Julius Dixson, has filed suit against a Manhattan Hospital charging the elderly man died of neglect after routine surgery.

Julius Dixson, Jr., 53, says there is no way his father should have starved to death in a hospital. "I'm outraged. I'm hurt by it," he said.

Dixson Sr. was 90 when he died on January 30, 2004. He's best known for co-writing hits like "Lollipop," recorded by the Chordettes, and "Begging, Begging," recorded by James Brown.

On January 16, 2004, the elderly Dixson had surgery at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital at 58th Street and 10th Avenue to repair a broken femur near the hip.

Family members say before the surgery, a hospital staffer removed the elderly man's dentures, but after the surgery the dentures couldn't be found.

According to Dixson Jr., over the next 13 days his father was fed some solid food, some soft food, all of which he had trouble eating. "It hurt him to mesh the food with his gums. He said he needed his teeth," Dixson Jr. said.

The son said his father's health deteriorated, and he didn't go on a feeding tube until January 29, 2004 -- the day before he died. The younger Dixson said his father, nine days after the surgery, told him, "If I die in here, you go after them."

A spokeman for the hospital, extending condolences to the family, said the treatment "was completely appropriate."
But Mitchel Ashley, an attorney for the family says, no it wasn't. "Twelve days after surgery, he died from dehydration and starved to death in a hospital in the middle of New York City," Ashley said.

The lawsuit, filed in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, against the hospital and two doctors claims negligence, maintaining that even at the age of 90, Dixson Sr. shouldn't have died.