Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed against a Santa Fe Medical Center for Misdiagnosis of Russell Means’ Cancer

Russell Means at Wounded Knee 10 Year Annivesary

Russell Means at Wounded Knee 10 Year Annivesary

Russell Means Walked On of Esophageal Cancer October2012 at 72

SANTA FE — Pearl Means, the widow of American Indian Movement leader Russell Means, has filed a wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit, claiming her husband’s cancer was misdiagnosed the year before he walked on in November 2012.

The lawsuit was filed against the Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico that physicians at the medical center failed to properly diagnose the esophageal cancer when Means went there for treatment.

Russell and Pearl Means at Red Nation Film Festival where he was honored.

Russell and Pearl Means at Red Nation Film Festival where he was honored.

Means sought treatment at the medical center during February and March 2011 when he had symptoms of spitting up blood and difficulty swallowing.

“Mrs. Means was reassured that it was negative (for cancer) other than for a possible enlarged tonsil, even though Russell Means had previously undergone a tonsillectomy as a child,” the lawsuit states.

Still plagued with the symptoms, Means sought another medical opinion at the UCLA Medical Center in July 2011. It was there he was soon thereafter informed he had esophageal cancer.

By then, the cancer had agressively spread to other parts of his body.

The Santa Fe medical Center denies any wrongdoing. The hospital released a statement after the lawsuit was filed:

“It is important to note that in this case, the New Mexico Medical Review commission affirmed by a vote of 6-0 that there was no professional negligence on the part of the hospital.”

Russell Means Funeral Procession on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Russell Means Funeral Procession on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

After many years as an American Indian activist, Means became a Hollywood actor. Since 1992, he has appeared in “The Last of the Mohicans,” “The Pathfinder,” “Natural Born Killers,” “Windrunner: A Spirited Journey,” “Thomas and the Magic Railroad.” His served as the voice of Chief Pawhatan in “Pocahontas” in the hit 1995 Disney movie.

Also, during 1995, Means released his autobiography, “Where White Men Fear to Tread,” co-written with Marvin J. Wolf.

In July 2012, Means released a book online: “You’ve Forgotten the Names of the Clouds, You’ve Lost Your Way. The book was co-written by Bayard Johnson. The book takes the reader on a journey into the intriguing and little understood belief system and world view shared by many American Indians and other indigenous people around the world.

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