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Singer’s legendary career cut short by medical malpractice

There are many things that Ann Arbor residents worry about on a daily basis that rich, famous celebrities never do. However, in a sense, health care is a great equalizer — celebrities’ bodies are just as vulnerable as anyone else’s, and they are just as helpless as the rest of us when they place themselves into the care of a hospital. And when celebrities suffer permanent disability from medical malpractice, they avail themselves of the legal system to seek compensation.

Take the story of Julie Andrews. The legendary soprano who starred in The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins was renowned for her four-octave range. But back in the late nineties, Andrews learned that she had non-cancerous nodules growing in her throat. She checked herself into the hospital in order to have the nodules surgically removed.

Unfortunately and unexpectedly, the procedure permanently altered her voice and all but ended her career. Andrews sued the hospital as well as the hospital staff who performed the surgery for medical malpractice. At the time, she described the “devastating blow” that the loss of her singing voice inflicted upon her.

A few years later, the lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount. While Andrews talked about closing the chapter on the matter, she continued to struggle as she found herself unable to perform the activity that had formed not just her career, but indeed her identity. Still more years later, she would work on a minimal kind of “speak-singing” in a low voice for a film, noting the importance of keeping optimistic.

Ann Arbor residents who’ve experienced medical malpractice in their own lives may understand the kind of existential crisis that can take place when their livelihood is stolen away due to hospital negligence. Stories of others who have traveled the long road to reforge their identities may provide some inspiration. But compensation for those losses is also a matter of crucial importance, for which victims may wish to consider legal representation.

Source: The Washington Post, “How Julie Andrews’s voice was stolen by a medical disaster,” Justin Moyer, March 19, 2015

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