BROTHERS QUESTION HOSPITAL

Maurice Gibb

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Maurice Gibb in Hospital

Maurice Gibb Dies

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"Brothers perplexed over Bee Gee's death" (BBC,Jan 13 2003)
The brothers of the Bee Gee Maurice Gibb are seeking answers about his treatment in hospital in Miami. Gibb died on Sunday at the age of 53 when his condition deteriorated following a heart attack.

Speaking exclusively to the BBC, Barry and Robin Gibb said they were perplexed as to how their brother had been admitted with a stomach blockage - and then apparently died from another illness. The brothers said they were "devastated" and "completely pole-axed" by their loss and paid tribute to the "most sweetest, generous" man.

Barry Gibb confirmed he had not been present at the Mount Sinai Medical Centre for many of the key moments of his brother's treatment and said he had been told much of what he knew second-hand. But he said: "We will pursue every factor, every element, every second of the timeline, of the final hours of Maurice's life. We will pursue that relentlessly. That will be our quest from now on."

'Gifted extrovert'

Brother Robin paid tribute to his brother as "a very gifted man". "He was the most sweetest, generous of people you could ever meet."

Barry added: "He was an extrovert and he would always be the person, he would never walk into a room, Maurice. Maurice would prance into a room, you know, and his presence was immediate."
"Lonely days" (Star Online Jan 14 2003)
Fans joined surviving members of the Bee Gees in mourning the death of their brother and bandmate Maurice Gibb, who played bass and keyboard for the band that climbed the charts to become a disco sensation in the late '70s.

Gibb died Sunday after emergency surgery for an intestinal blockage. He was 53. He had been admitted to Mount Sinai Medical Center four days earlier. He suffered cardiac arrest before the intestinal surgery but he seemed to be recovering from both.

"He twiddled his toes, he held his daughter's hand," said David Most, a longtime friend. "His organs were all functioning. We thought, 'It's the turning point,' and suddenly he was in a coma."

"Everyone was just believing Maurice was coming around and we woke up to this awful news," said Peter Bassett, a spokesman for Gibb's twin brother Robin. "It's the worst possible news anyone could have expected."

"We're both devastated," Robin Gibb told the British Broadcasting Corp., referring to himself and brother Barry. "We've actually been in shock for the last few days since Maurice was taken ill, and so this has all gone too fast for us. It's like a nightmare that you wake up to every day. That's all we can say. It's just devastating. It's going to take a long time even just for it to sink in."

The surviving Gibbs claimed that mistakes were made by the hospital in the death of "one of the world's greatest recording artists." They questioned whether it was necessary to operate on Maurice when he was in a state of cardiac arrest.

"We believe mistakes were made and time was wasted," Robin Gibb told the BBC.

Hospital spokeswoman Kathleen Dorkowski said she could not comment on the allegations because of patient privacy laws.

Fans sent flowers to the hospital and the brothers' homes in England, Bassett said.

"He was a truly talented artist and a wonderful man full of wit and passion for life," Bee Gees manager Allen Kovac said in a statement.

The Bee Gees, short for the Brothers Gibb -- twins Maurice (pronounced Morris) and Robin, and older brother Barry -- were known for their tight, high harmonies and original sound. Their younger brother, Andy, who had a successful solo career, died in 1988 at age 30 from a heart ailment.

The brothers had nine No. 1 songs, wrote dozens of hits for other artists and sold more than 110 million records -- placing them fifth in pop history behind Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. The group's contributions to the "Saturday Night Fever" album in 1977 made it the best-selling movie soundtrack ever, with more than 40 million copies sold. The Bee Gees won seven Grammy Awards.  When the Bee Gees were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, the Hall noted dance music was only a small part of their repertoire.

In 1967 they scored the first in a string of international hits, including "To Love Somebody" and "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" in a catchy pop style similar to that of the Beatles.  "Did we sound like the Beatles?" Barry Gibb said several years later. "I hope so. We tried hard enough."  Their smooth harmonies and incredibly catchy tunes kept them popular until, in 1977, they sang on the soundtrack of "Saturday Night Fever," which became their golden dream and their worst nightmare.

Packed with hits like "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever," the album sold more than 30 million copies. It also made the Bee Gees synonymous with disco music, a narrow image they spent the next quarter-century trying to shake. Maurice Gibb once lamented how some perceived the band, best known for hits like "Stayin' Alive," simply as a disco phenomenon. "People accuse us of being nothing more than a disco band now," Gibb said in a 1978 interview with TG Magazine. "But they don't know what they're talking about. If you listen to our records, you'll find that there's dance music, but there are also ballads like 'More Than A Woman.' And there are some very beautiful, undanceable songs, too."

Though friends said he had a lively sense of humor, he had his demons, and he went through alcohol and cocaine abuse in his 20s and 40s.  Maurice, who always wore an Alcoholics Anonymous lapel badge, told Reuters in 1997, "I used to be a real terror. "I just enjoy life to its fullest now," he said. "There's two days a week I don't worry about now, and that's today and yesterday."

Originally from England, the brothers gained fame as a teen pop group in Australia, then returned to England in the 1960s. Their first four albums contained hits such as "New York Mining Disaster 1941" and their first U.S. No. 1 song, 1970's "Lonely Days," and 1971's "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart." Their 1978 album "Spirits Having Flown" sold 20 million copies.   In the 1990s, the Bee Gees released three studio albums and went on a world tour. The live tour album, "One Night Only," sold more than 1 million albums in the United States.

They have lived in South Florida since the late '70s.

Maurice Gibb's first wife was British singer Lulu. He and his second wife, Yvonne, were married for more than 20 years and had two children.

Robin and Barry were able to see Maurice before he died, Bassett said.  "The family are together at Robin's house in Florida and all are utterly bereft at this unexpected loss," he said.

It was unclear whether Robin and Barry would go on to record without their brother. But the music the Brothers Gibb made, music that millions of people can hum even against their will, still defines an era.
"Gibbs say mistakes in hospital may have led to brother's death" (By Jay Weaver, Luisa Yanez and David Kidwell, Miami Herald, 14 Jan 2003)
Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach said Monday it would cooperate with the family of Maurice Gibb in their pursuit of answers to the singer's sudden death, but the hospital would not respond to their accusations that medical ''mistakes'' may have caused it.
A hospital spokeswoman also declined to say what caused the death of the 53-year-old member of the Bee Gees, citing the patient's privacy.
''Obviously, we want a positive outcome,'' said Kathleen Dorkowski, a hospital spokeswoman. ``We're aware of the statements that the family has made and that they just want questions answered. We'll do everything we can to answer their questions.''
Gibb family members -- including brothers Barry and Robin Gibb -- could not be reached for comment Monday. But in an interview with BBC News Sunday, the two surviving Bee Gees singers criticized the hospital's treatment of their brother, who experienced cardiac arrest before undergoing surgery for an abdominal hernia on Thursday.
''The fact that they had to operate on Maurice during the shock of cardiac arrest is very questionable, and we will pursue every factor, every element, every second of the timeline of the final hours of Maurice's life,'' Barry Gibb, 55, told the BBC. ``We believe that mistakes were made. Period.''
Said Maurice's twin brother, Robin Gibb: ``We believe mistakes were made and time was wasted.''Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach said Monday it would cooperate with the family of Maurice Gibb in their pursuit of answers to the singer's sudden death, but the hospital would not respond to their accusations that medical ''mistakes'' may have caused it.

TREATABLE CONDITION
In an earlier statement, Mount Sinai said Maurice Gibb's stomach pains were caused by a strangulated hernia of the abdomen. That happens when the the large intestine pushes into the abdomen, a treatable condition when caught in time, doctors say.
According to sources familiar with the case, Dr. Irvin H. Willis performed the surgery on Gibb. Willis, a gastroenterologist, did not return a call to his office.
Willis, who did his surgical residency at the University of Miami School of Medicine in the late 1960s, has a clean medical history in the state of Florida, records show. He does not carry medical malpractice insurance, Willis told state regulators.Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach said Monday it would cooperate with the family of Maurice Gibb in their pursuit of answers to the singer's sudden death, but the hospital would not respond to their accusations that medical ''mistakes'' may have caused it.

MALPRACTICE CASES
Willis has been sued twice for medical malpractice in Miami-Dade County, according to court records. He was ultimately dropped as a defendant before trial in one lawsuit, which Mount Sinai eventually won. He still faces malpractice allegations in the second suit.
The doctor's attorney, James Eckhart, declined to comment.
If Maurice Gibb's family decides to sue the hospital, the process would take several months, legal experts said. They would first want to obtain an independent autopsy to pinpoint the cause of his death.
The county's medical examiner said the family had not contacted the office on Monday.
Meanwhile, a steady stream of mourners came to pay their respects to Maurice Gibb at his brothers' residences along North Bay Road. Maurice once lived there, but had moved to Sunset Island II.
On the street, scores of fans drove slowly past Robin's house, trying to get a peek at where the family members were congregating. Florists delivered large arrangements, while some fans brought bunches of flowers and left them by the gate. Another floral memorial was erected at Jimmy's East Side Diner on Biscayne Boulevard, where Maurice often ate breakfast.
''This is such a shame that he died this way,'' said Teresita Bollain, 32, who came to the Miami Beach neighborhood.
``I tell you what, at any discotheque things never got started until they played a Bee Gees song.''
Richard Ashby, a friend and long-time assistant to the Bee Gees, said the surviving brothers will not comment further on the circumstances surrounding Maurice's death.
"Twisted bowel killed Gibb" (Sky News - Jan 17 2003)
Bee Gee star Maurice Gibb died of a twisted bowel, it has been revealed.

And his twin brother is set to make a tribute to him by releasing a solo single called Please.

According to post-mortem results, Maurice's bowel and small intestine had become so twisted that his blood flow was restricted. The 53-year-old died three days after suffering a heart attack before receiving emergency surgery for an intestinal blockage.

Autopsy

The autopsy also revealed that Maurice Gibb had been born with a malformed intestine which could potentially lead to cardiac arrest. Sky News showbiz reporter Hannah Stott met up with Robin just days before Maurice was taken ill, when he talked fondly of working with his siblings throughout his life:

Without the Bee Gees, there would be no music to go mad to on the dance floor at the end of the night. Without the Bee Gees, Saturday Night Fever might not have become a cult film. Without the Bee Gees, whitening tooth paste may never have taken off.

Entertainers

Barry, Maurice and Robin came from humble beginnings, with a family tree of plumbers and soap makers. But much to the shock of their parents four of their five children showed massive potential as entertainers.

"We argued when we lived at home as a family but we have a kind of musical relationship," Robin told me. "I don't know if we've stayed together because we're brothers. I think it's the music and songwriting that has done that. We started when we were about seven or eight, not professionally, we just got interested in music very young.

Hits

"My mum and dad didn't push us, we didn't have any money and had to emigrate to Australia at one point. It was just a kid interest that developed as we got older."

The Bee Gees have had 10 Number One hits in the UK and 16 in the US, as well as providing material for other artists to take to the top of the charts. Covers have been plentiful over the years, with fine contributions from the likes of Steps, N-Trance and Take That to name a few. Although such masterpieces would have been highly profitable for the group, Robin is not a fan of manufactured pop.

"The way it's evolved since we first started, you don't have to be a musician songwriter as much today, and I'd like to see that return.

Classics

"Right now the music industry is getting away from music and more toward a celebrity beauty contest - music is rather secondary. I don't think it bodes well for the future."

One True Voice used Sacred Trust, a new song from the Bee Gees, to try to take the Christmas number one spot last month. But they just lost out to their Pop Idol competitors Girls Aloud. "I don't mind that, it's not an old song. It has merit in that they have taken a new song and recorded it. But on the whole the future of the music industry depends on new songwriters and artists, people writing classics for the next 20 years.

Album

"It's also important for new British artists to crack the American charts as well and start having success in America again."

Despite the Gibb family's loss, Robin and Barry have vowed it is not the end of the Bee Gees and they expect to be back with some new material later in the year. Until then Robin's solo album Magnet will be in shops at the end of the month.
"Maurice Gibb Autopsy Released" (Chart Attack - 17 Jan 2003)
An official cause of death has been issued for the late Maurice Gibb. He died of something called ischemic enteropathy.

Gibb’s autopsy report was released yesterday (January 16) and it revealed that Gibb died of complications resulting from a twist in his bowell and small intestine. Doctors believe that the twists restricted the flow of blood in Gibb’s body, resulting in the stomach pains that caused him to be rushed to the hospital and the cardiac arrest that he suffered while on the operating table while doctors attempted to untwist his stomach. Gibb died on Sunday (January 12), three days after the operation.

A doctor told the Associated Press that Gibb’s stomach twisting was caused by a defect that the singer was likely born with. Such disorders often don’t result in any symptoms until the patient is middle-aged, but its uncommon for the results to be as catastrophic as they were in Gibb’s case.

The autopsy did not indicate if Gibb’s death could have been prevented by doctors. Gibb’s two brothers, Robin and Barry have publicly questioned the doctors’ decision to continue operating on Maurice after his cardiac arrest and are reportedly considering legal action.

Maurice Gibb was laid to rest in Miami, Florida at a private ceremony on Wednesday (January 15).
"Bee Gee's surgeon in tumour lawsuit" (The Sunday Times, Jan 20 2003)
The surgeon who operated on Bee Gee Maurice Gibb three days before his death last weekend is facing a medical malpractice lawsuit from the bereaved family of a cancer patient he treated five years ago, it emerged last week.

Irvin Willis of the Mount Sinai Medical Centre in Miami, Florida, is accused of "gross, wilful, wanton and reckless or callous indifference" in his treatment of Aracelis Rodriguez Alba, who died in October 1997.

Alba developed an abdominal abscess during surgery to remove a tumour from her pancreas, according to a lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court. The lawsuit claims her subsequent death from a bacterial infection was preventable and says Willis failed to intervene in a "timely and proper" manner.

Dr Willis, a respected surgeon who has been practising for more than 30 years, strongly denies the allegations. Details of the case emerged as Gibb's family said they were investigating whether a decision by doctors not to operate immediately on the 53-year-old star when he was admitted to Mount Sinai cost him his life.

They fear there may have been a delay in treating Gibb, during which time his condition deteriorated as a result of an intestinal blockage that could have caused a heart attack by flooding his bloodstream with poisons.

James Eckhart, Dr Willis's lawyer, insisted medical staff had kept Gibb's family informed of his treatment. "It's tragic what happened," he said. "Mr Gibb's wife was fully aware of everything that happened and was thoroughly advised and approved everything."

In a tribute to the late musician, members of Gibb's family are planning to travel to Britain to collect his CBE from the Queen. All three Bee Gees were named on the 2002 new year honours list but have not picked up their awards.
Robin Gibb on GMTV (Jan 22 2003)
Q: You have said you are going to pursue what happened, what sort of stage is that at?

Robin Gibb: It is at a very early stage, because things move differently in the States. There are lots of things that went wrong, things we are asking about Maurice's medical attention, things he should have had 24 hours... Did he pay for celebrity status by being put on the 8th floor of the hospital with no medical facilities and more luxury, so when he did have a reaction to his illness there was no medical facilities on that floor and time was wasted getting vital equipment to him?

Q: Are you worried about your own health, we are not sure, we hear conflicting stories, it could have been something that he had from a baby.

Robin Gibb: I don't know, there is no evidence to me that he had any genetic problems because when I said to the doctor if I should I get a check up he hesitated and said, 'You could if you want.'

Q: We haven't really spoken about your big brother, we saw news bulletins that he was angry.

Robin Gibb: Absolutely, and that's the same as me too. Obviously anger doesn't bring back the person, but there are a lot of people that must be held to account that were involved along the way in Maurice's death, and we are not satisfied with what we've been told. We believe this didn't have to happen.

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