Quantcast
Connect with us

The death of Neil Armstrong and a $6 million secret

Published

on

When Neil Armstrong died in 2012, it was officially put down to complications arising from heart surgery. But seven years on, more murky circumstances have come to light.

The New York Times said Tuesday it had received by mail 93 pages of documents revealing a dispute between the family of the most famous astronaut in history and the small Ohio hospital where he was treated and operated on.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Cincinnati Enquirer also received the documents, which were sent anonymously.

According to the newspapers, the family had threatened to publicly accuse the hospital of medical malpractice.

They ultimately reached a secret settlement that avoided a scandal, with the hospital paying $6 million, of which $5 million went to Armstrong’s two sons, Rick and Mark, in exchange for their silence.

In a July 2014 email, Mark’s wife Wendy, a lawyer, threatened to go public during the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission which saw Armstrong become the first person to set foot on the Moon.

“If this matter becomes public, the resulting damage to your client’s reputation would come at a much greater cost than any jury verdict we can imagine,” she wrote, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

ADVERTISEMENT

“No institution wants to be remotely associated with the death of one of America’s greatest heroes,” Bertha Helmick, a lawyer for Armstrong’s grandchildren, argued in probate court proceedings, according to the Times.

But Armstrong’s widow Carol, his second wife, wanted it known she was not a part of the agreement.

The case concerned the decision by the hospital in Fairfield, Ohio, now a member of the Bon Secours Mercy Health group of hospitals, to not transfer Armstrong immediately to surgery when he began to show rapid internal bleeding, several days after a coronary bypass.

ADVERTISEMENT

The original decision to perform the bypass surgery has also been questioned.

A hospital spokeswoman told the Enquirer the publication of the details was “very disappointing.”

ADVERTISEMENT

– Cashing in? –

Settlements for medical malpractice suits are commonplace in the United States: only about five percent end up in court, according to Michelle Mello, a law professor at Stanford. Hospitals are insured against the risk.

According to Mello, the biggest settlement by a doctor in 2018 involving the death of a male in his 80s was for $1.49 million and the median was $145,000.

ADVERTISEMENT

All such cases are reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank, but settlements by hospitals, which are rare, are not.

According to another expert, William Sage of the University of Texas at Austin, “a $6 million settlement involving the death of a national here does not strike me as unusually large.”

The case highlights the brand value of the Armstrong name, but also more generally of astronauts from NASA’s golden era.

When Armstrong’s sons sold off thousands of personal items belonging to their father in three recent auctions, the proceeds exceeded $12 million, according to Heritage Auctions.

ADVERTISEMENT

They told AFP in an interview last year they wanted to create a foundation and would donate a portion to charity.

Other Moonwalkers have also cashed-in.

Buzz Aldrin, who followed Armstrong on the Moon, commands a $50,000 to $75,000 fee to participate in conferences, according to the site speaking.com.

“He’ll ask for a private jet, he’ll ask for VIP accommodation, and he’ll get it because people want to meet Buzz Aldrin,” Francis French, the author of several books on space history including one on the crew of Apollo 15, who were reprimanded for trying to make money from the sale of autographed postmarked envelopes that were taken to the Moon.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to French, it’s no secret, and not considered underhanded, that ex-astronauts look for ways to make money after their careers are over. They would otherwise have to rely solely on their relatively paltry military or civil service pensions.

French added that he knew the Armstrong family, and they are not motivated by money.

Charlie Duke, one of the four living Moonwalkers, asked AFP in April for $5,000 for an interview.

“There’s a market. They charge what they can get,” John Logsdon, founder of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University told AFP. “These guys risk their lives after all, and I see nothing wrong with them profiting from it.”

In his own post-astronaut career, Armstrong lived a life outside of the limelight and less renumerated. If he used his fame, it was mainly for the benefit of his alma mater, Purdue.

ADVERTISEMENT

Thanks to a major fundraising campaign he co-chaired in the 1990s, Purdue raised $ 250 million, the university told AFP.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump can’t stop whining about media coverage of Sondland testimony during tech photo-op in Texas

Published

on

The testimony of E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland was broadly considered devastating to President Donald Trump and several of his senior officials.

But while Trump outwardly projected confidence, dwelling on the one portion of Sondland's testimony that put him in a good light, he was clearly angered by the situation — as he lashed out at the media during a photo-op with Apple CEO Tim Cook in Austin, Texas:

Trump clearly unhappy about the Sondland coverage, rails against the press in Austin (during photo op with Apple CEO Tim Cook)...

Continue Reading

CNN

Trump is desperately cherry-picking portions of Sondland’s testimony to ignore the bombshells: CNN correspondent

Published

on

On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins noted how President Donald Trump is desperately trying to focus on the narrow portions of E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony that put him in a good light — and ignoring the trove of damning new information against him.

"[Sondland] makes it clear, absolutely, totally discarding what the president and his allies are saying for weeks," said anchor Wolf Blitzer.

"What the White House [is] relying on, and what the president was reading from earlier, was the conversation where he had called the president to ask if there was a quid pro quo, and he said the president got angry and said there was not one and that he didn't want anything from Ukraine," said Collins. "What they are ignoring is what he started his testimony with today, that yes, in relation to the aid to the White House — to the White House call and the White House meeting, there was a quid pro quo. And we should note there has still been no White House meeting for the Ukrainian leader."

Continue Reading
 

CNN

Republican analyst thinks the House Republicans are ‘setting up’ Mick Mulvaney to be the fall-guy for Trump

Published

on

Republicans were caught off-guard this morning when their key witness, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, started outing key administration officials, as well as the president and vice president, for the bribery efforts with Ukraine.

Republican strategist Amanda Carpenter noted that she doesn't care what White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham is spinning and twisting.

"What I saw today was he's trying to draw a distinction between the quid pro quo between the White House visits and the aid," Carpenter said. "He owns up to the fact, yeah, we held up the White House visits for the investigations. He doesn't deny that. But every time the discussion got to the money, [he] didn't want to hear anything about this."

Continue Reading
 
 

Happy Holidays!

As a special thank you from all of us at Raw, we're offering Raw Story ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. Now 'til Dec. 31st.
Offer Expires In:
close-link