'Jeopardy!' Champ Brayden Smith Died Due to Hospital's Negligence, Parents Allege in Suit

The parents of a "Jeopardy!" game show champion sued a Las Vegas-area hospital Monday for alleged negligence and medical malpractice that they say led to their son's death. Brayden Smith was 24 when he died in February 2021, the month after receiving abdominal surgery at the St. Rose Dominican Hospital-Siena Campus.

Smith, who suffered from ulcerative colitis, underwent an operation at the hospital in January 2021 to have his colon removed, according to Monday's court filing. He collapsed three weeks after he was sent home for recovery and was hospitalized again before he died of blood clots in his lungs.

The hospital never provided Smith with anticoagulants, more commonly known as blood thinners, after his surgery, according to the lawsuit. The filing also alleges that the doctors and nurses who treated him did not meet medical standards of care.

"This case is not just about death," said Robert Murdock, an attorney for the parents. "Brayden suffered before he died because the hospital, its nurses, and the home health nurse failed to teach and take care of this young man with a new ostomy."

The lawsuit also stated that Smith's death was "preordained" by the doctors' and nurses' alleged misconduct, KLAS-TV reported.

"None of this had to be," the filing said.

During the five-time champion's time on "Jeopardy!," he won $115,798 and the close following of Las Vegas residents. The show paid tribute to Smith on-air after his passing, with guest host Buzzy Cohen describing him as an "incredible young man" and announcing a donation from the show to a fund established in his name.

"We want to express our best wishes and condolences to his family," Cohen said.

Jeopardy Champion Death Lawsuit
The parents of a "Jeopardy!" game show champion sued a Las Vegas-area hospital Monday for alleged negligence and medical malpractice that they say led to their son's death. Alex Trebek rehearses his lines on the set of the "Jeopardy!" Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational Tournament Show Taping on April 17, 2010 in Culver City, California. Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Smith was one of the last "Jeopardy!" contestants to appear with host Alex Trebek before Trebek died in November 2020 after battling pancreatic cancer. Trebek was 80.

Smith's parents, Scott and Deborah Smith, filed the in Nevada state court against St. Rose Dominican Hospital-Siena Campus in Henderson, hospital corporation Dignity Health, and several doctors and nurses.

The 14-page civil complaint and affidavits from two doctors and a nurse allege negligence and medical malpractice. The case seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages greater than $15,000.

Dignity Health was "reviewing the case but do not comment on pending litigation," company spokesman Gordon Absher said Tuesday.

Smith was a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a National Merit Scholar semifinalist and Quiz Bowl veteran, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.