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Did Astronaut Neil Armstrong Die a Wrongful Death?

While a nation mourned the loss of a national hero in 2012, Neil Armstrong’s family were querying incompetent post-surgical care at Mercy Health – Fairfield Hospital in Cincinnati that they believe lead to his untimely and wrongful death.

Even though Mercy Health – Fairfield Hospital defended their care, they paid the Armstrong family $6 million to privately settle the matter to avoid bad publicity via a medical malpractice lawsuit– a controversial yet common practice.

neil armstrong

Neil Armstrong underwent bypass surgery in August 2012 and came out of it healthy. His wife even indicated that he was walking around the corridor on his own. Sadly, when two nurses removed the wires to his temporary pacemaker, Armstrong began to bleed into his pericardium (the membrane surrounding his heart), which led to a series of complications that resulted in his death only a few days later.

Three medical experts reviewed Armstrong’s medical records and found that doctors decided to do a bypass surgery immediately after running some tests and without exploring less invasive alternatives.

As a routine part of bypass surgery, doctors implanted temporary wires to help pace Armstrong’s heart rate as he recovered. However, after nurses removed the wires and Armstrong began to bleed internally, his blood pressure dropped, and doctors conducted an echocardiogram. This procedure was done in a catheterization lab, which showed “significant and rapid bleeding.” Doctors drained some of the blood from his heart to prevent it from being pressed and hampered by the accumulated fluid.

After his echocardiogram, Armstrong was taken into surgery – the exact nature of which has yet to be revealed. Disturbingly, Armstrong died a few days after this surgery, and the medical experts that reviewed Armstrong’s medical record believe that the decision to first take him to the catheterization lab instead of directly to the operating room could have caused his complications to worsen.

There has been some disagreement amongst doctors about whether the decision to go to the catheterization lab first was negligent, and whether going directly to the operating room would have made a difference. However, it is generally agreed amongst most professionals that had Armstrong gone straight to the operating room; he would have had a higher chance of survival. 

Legal Matters

Proving that a family member has died a wrongful death can be a challenging task. This is because a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit is not the same thing as a criminal case. It is a civil action, which means that it requires the gathering and presenting of evidence for the claim to be settled successfully.

Naturally, this process can be both confusing and complicated, and you should contact a qualified medical malpractice lawyer to represent you and guide you through the entire process.

You should contact an NYC medical malpractice attorney if you live in NYC, as these professionals specialize in the medical malpractice law specific to the state. Having this expertise, they will provide you with the best possible chance of winning your case and receiving compensation in the form of damages.


If you have read this article and think that your family member might have been a victim of wrongful death, there is help for you. To get a better understanding of whether medical malpractice did occur, you can speak to the medical malpractice lawyers of Rosenburg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff LLP in NYC. 

You can have a free, confidential consultation by contacting one of our medical malpractice attorneys on 212-344-1000 today.

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