Mercy Health paid Neil Armstrong's family $6M wrongful death settlement

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Mercy Health Fairfield Hospital in Cincinnati quietly paid Neil Armstrong's family $6 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit and avoid publicity after Mr. Armstrong died two weeks after a 2012 heart surgery at the facility, according to The New York Times.

Seven things to know:

1. Mr. Armstrong, the U.S. astronaut who was the first person to walk on the moon, had a bypass surgery at the hospital in early August 2012. As a standard part of the procedure, surgeons implanted wires to help pace his heartbeat as he recovered. When the nurses removed the wires, he began to bleed internally, leading to a cascade of other medical issues that caused his death on Aug. 25, 2012, according to The Times.

2. After Mr. Armstrong's death, his family released a heartwarming tribute for his admirers, but in private, the family's reaction to his death at 82 was heated.

3. Mr. Armstrong's two sons contended that he received flawed post-surgical care from Mercy Health Fairfield that killed him. They filed a complaint of malpractice and wrongful death.

4. The hospital defended its care, but paid the family $6 million to settle the matter privately. The hospital insisted on keeping the complaints and settlement secret, according to documents obtained by The Times. 

5. The Times reports that both of Mr. Armstrong's sons suggested they would speak publicly about the claims if the hospital refused to settle. Bertha Helmich, a lawyer who represented Mr. Armstrong's grandchildren in the wrongful death suit stated in the documents that "no institution wants to be remotely associated with the death of one of America's greatest heroes."

6. The medical dispute and secret settlement comes just after the 50th anniversary of Mr. Armstrong's moon walk. The Times anonymously received 93 pages of documents related to the astronaut's treatment and the legal case.

7. Mercy Health released the following statement after The Times report. "Our commitment to patient privacy and dignity is a responsibility we take very seriously, and we are unable to discuss any individual or his or her care. The public nature of these details is very disappointing — both for our ministry and the patient’s family who had wished to keep this legal matter private."

Access the full report here. 

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