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Dwarf actor sues hospital, doctor over death of twin brother

Greg Rice claims his brother John's death was caused by improper insertion of a breathing tube before surgery.

Published June 13, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH - A dwarf who starred with his now-deceased twin brother in campy real estate informercials and on a sitcom and television game show sued a hospital and an anesthesiologist on Monday, claiming that "outrageous" behavior led to the man's death.

John E. Rice died Nov. 5 at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach after being admitted for surgery for a broken thighbone.

Greg Rice, 54, filed the lawsuit in Palm Beach Circuit Court, claiming the hospital tried to cover up the cause of John Rice's death, telling him his brother died of a heart attack on the way to the operating room.

An autopsy later found he died from cardiac arrest due to a lack of oxygen as he was under anesthesia awaiting surgery. Greg Rice's attorney, Kevin Smith, claims a breathing tube was inserted improperly.

Greg Rice claims misinformation provided to him amounted to "intentional affliction of emotional distress," according to his attorney.

Rice is also suing anesthesiologist Dr. Wayne Weidenbaum.

"Good Samaritan Medical Center has been clear and consistent regarding the cause of John Rice's death," Bruce Ramsey, an attorney for the hospital, said in a statement Monday. "The hospital will respond to the allegations in the appropriate form."

Neither Weidenbaum nor his attorney returned telephone calls Monday.

The brothers appeared on numerous national television programs, had their own real estate show, hosted That Quiz Show in 1982 and played landlords in the 1981 sitcom Foul Play. They also appeared for 15 years in commercials for Hulett pest control, dressing up as insects, horses and Elvis Presley.

[Last modified June 13, 2006, 04:43:27]

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