The widow of celebrity chef Floyd Cardoz has filed a lawsuit against an Essex County hospital, alleging a doctor and other staff members released personal health information without family consent before and after the chef died two years ago. to COVID.
Barkha Cardoz said in court documents that health workers at Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair were consumed by Cardoz’s celebrity status and made public with medical treatment details – including his placement on a ventilator and his death on March 25, 2020.
They released the information without his family’s consent, according to the lawsuit filed in Essex County Superior Court.
A spokeswoman for Hackensack Meridian said on Wednesday the hospital system would not comment on the lawsuit “as it is pending trial”.
Cardoz, 59, of Roseland, contracted what appeared to be a cold after returning from a trip to India and was admitted to the hospital’s emergency room on March 15, 2020, according to court documents.
“Instead of focusing on Mr Cardoz’s treatment or properly informing his wife and family of his condition, the defendants focused on Mr Cardoz’s celebrity,” the indictment says.
Born in 1960 in Bombay, India – now known as Mumbai – Cardoz entered the New York City food scene in 1998 and became a culinary giant known for his pioneering work as the chef of Tabla in New York.
Cardoz was also a chef at New York’s North End Grill and opened Paowala, which became Bombay Bread Bar. He was also vice president at the Estiatorio Milos Group, winning the third season of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” in 2011.
The lawsuit states that Cardoz donated his six-figure winnings from “Top Chef” to a cancer research fund at a medical school in Mount Sinai and was named in the “Top 50 Most Influential Global Indians” by GQ Magazine.
The lawsuit alleges that at least one doctor and other Mountainside employees were consumed by Cardoz’s celebrity and intentionally disclosed his personal health information in violation of laws designed to protect patients from disclosing confidential information.
The hospital “enforced numerous statutes related to patient care,” including the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the lawsuit alleges.
After Cardoz was admitted to hospital, his wife was not called back for three days by one of the doctors overseeing his care, the indictment said.
“The limited information she received despite near-constant contact efforts came from nurses,” the lawsuit says.
Due to COVID restrictions at the time, Barkha Cardoz was not allowed to visit her husband and only spoke to doctors three times before her husband died – once to give her consent for dialysis treatment.
When Cardoz died, his wife received “little explanation or input into his medical care,” the suit states. However, when she started calling relatives in India to let them know that he had passed away, she was shocked to find that they already knew, the suit states.
“As if Floyd’s sleepless nights, lack of communication and death weren’t enough, Barkha was shocked when people in India provided her with the most personal details about Floyd’s hospitalization,” the indictment said.
The friends and relatives in India knew about the ventilator, dialysis’ and even details about his death.
Court papers state that Barkha Cardoz “pressurized her connections” and found that a doctor directly involved in her husband’s care was one of the staffers who reportedly leaked information to the public multiple times.
“As a result, Barkha was deprived of the right to mourn and inform relatives of Floyd’s death on her terms,” the indictment said. “These actions were clearly motivated by celebrity and publicity and were at the expense of[the family’s]privacy, not to mention ethics.”
The lawsuit alleges that after her husband’s death, Barkha Cardoz contacted the hospital multiple times, including in a detailed complaint on May 13, 2020, for “answers and, ideally, comfort,” the lawsuit said.
The hospital’s then chief executive officer sent Barkha Cardoz an email on May 28, 2020, apologizing for the “actions of a resident,” according to the lawsuit. The email was followed up on June 2, 2020 by a letter in which a Mountainside official said the hospital was launching an “immediate investigation” into her claims.
The lawsuit does not say what became of the investigation the hospital said it was conducting.
Barkha Cardoz lawyers have charged Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Hospital with privacy violation, negligence, breach of contract and violation of the New Jersey consumer fraud law.
The lawsuit also alleges Hackensack Meridian was negligent in supervising medical, nursing and hospital staff and failed to establish adequate procedures to protect the chief’s personal health information.
The lawsuit asks the court to award a range of monetary damages, including triple damages allowed under New Jersey’s consumer fraud law.
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