Bernie Mac's Widow Sues the Comedian's Doctor

The doctor said he thought his patient had a negative reaction to a shot

By Ivanna Hampton
|  Friday, Aug 6, 2010  |  Updated 8:07 AM CDT
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The widow of the late Bernie Mac is suing her husband's former dermatologist for wrongful death.

Court documents show Rhonda McCullough claims Dr. Rene Earles "failed to recognize cardiopulmonary instability" and "failed to recognize ... signs of respiratory failure" during a July 2008 office visit, the Sun-Times reports.

The lawsuit alleges that instead of calling an ambulance when he noticed signs of fatigue, Earles kept the comedian in his office for more than eight hours and had him sleep.

Earles confirmed seeing the actor that day, the paper reports.

"He walked in, he looked a little weak and I said, 'Bernie what's wrong?'"

Mac complained of having a cold and a doctor at Northwestern gave him a shot for it, he said.

Earles said he thought Mac was having a negative reaction to the injection and gave him medications to counteract it. He called up the other doctor, who told him Mac was diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs. That doctor either at or affiliated with Northwestern Memorial Hospital thought Mac checked himself in.

Earles said he immediately got Mac up, so he could go to the hospital. The comedian walked out to a vehicle with a chauffeur waiting to drive him there, he said.

Mac died from complications related to pneumonia three weeks later at the age of 50.

"It's was entirely devastating," he said. "Bernie was my friend."

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