NJ hospital released private information about celebrity chef Floyd Cardoz as he died from COVID, lawsuit says

The widow of celebrity chef Floyd Cardoz has filed a lawsuit against an Essex County hospital, claiming that a doctor and other staff leaked private health information without the family’s consent before and after the death of the COVID leader two years ago.

Barkha Cardoz said in court papers that healthcare workers at Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair were consumed by Cardoz’s celebrity status and released details of medical treatment – including his placement on a ventilator and his death on March 25, 2020.

They leaked the information without her family’s permission, according to the lawsuit filed in Essex County Superior Court.

A spokeswoman for Hackensack Meridian said Wednesday that the hospital system would not comment on the lawsuit “given that it is an ongoing litigation.”

Cardoz, 59, of Roseland, developed what appeared to be a cold after returning from a trip to India and was admitted to the hospital emergency room on March 15, 2020, court documents show.

“Rather than focusing on treating Mr. Cardoz or properly informing his wife and family of his condition, the defendants focused on making Mr. Cardoz famous,” the lawsuit alleges.

Born in 1960 in Bombay, India – now known as Mumbai – Cardoz entered the New York culinary scene in 1998 and became a culinary giant known for his pioneering work as the executive chef of Tabla de New York.

Cardoz was also executive chef at New York’s North End Grill and opened Paowala, which became Bombay Bread Bar. He was also vice president of the Estiatorio Milos group and won the third season of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” in 2011.

The lawsuit says Cardoz donated his six-figure earnings from ‘Top Chef’ to a cancer research fund at a Mount Sinai medical school and was named among the ‘World’s 50 Most Influential Indians’ by GQ Magazine.

The lawsuit alleges that at least one doctor and other Mountainside workers were consumed by the Cardoz celebrity and intentionally released his private health information to the public in violation of laws designed to protect patients from disclosure. confidential.

The hospital “violated numerous patient care laws,” including the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, according to the lawsuit.

After Cardoz was admitted to the hospital, his wife received no calls from any of the doctors overseeing her care for three days, the lawsuit says.

“The limited information she received despite almost constant efforts to log on was from nurses,” the lawsuit states.

Due to COVID restrictions in effect at the time, Barkha Cardoz was not allowed to visit her husband and only spoke with doctors three times before her husband died – once to give him his consent to dialysis treatment.

When Cardoz died, his wife received “little explanation or comment about his medical care,” the lawsuit says. However, when she started calling family members in India to let them know he had died, she was shocked to learn they already knew, the lawsuit says.

“As if the sleepless nights, lack of communication and Floyd’s passing weren’t enough, Barkha was horrified when people in India regale her with the most private details of Floyd’s hospitalization,” says the trial.

Friends and family members in India knew about the ventilator, the dialysis “and even details of his death.

Court documents say Barkha Cardoz “squeezed her connections” and discovered that a doctor directly involved in her husband’s care was among staff who allegedly leaked information to the public on multiple occasions.

“This deprived Barkha of the right to grieve and notify family members of Floyd’s death on his terms,” ​​the suit states. “These actions were clearly motivated by fame and publicity and came at the expense of (the family’s) privacy, not to mention ethics.”

The lawsuit says that after her husband’s death, Barkha Cardoz contacted the hospital on several occasions, including in a detailed complaint on May 13, 2020, for “answers and, ideally, reassurance,” the lawsuit says. .

The hospital’s then-general manager emailed Barkha Cardoz on May 28, 2020, apologizing for the “resident’s actions,” according to the lawsuit. The email was followed on June 2, 2020 by a letter in which a Mountainside official said the hospital was launching an “immediate investigation” into his claims.

The lawsuit does not say what, if anything, happened to the investigation the hospital said it was conducting.

Attorneys for Barkha Cardoz accused Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Hospital of invasion of privacy, negligence, breach of contract and violation of New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act.

The lawsuit also alleges that Hackensack Meridian was negligent in its supervision of medical, nursing and hospital staff and failed to establish adequate procedures to protect the chef’s private health information.

The lawsuit asks the court to award a range of damages, including treble damages allowable under New Jersey’s consumer fraud law.

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Anthony G. Attrino can be attached to [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. To find NJ.com on Facebook.

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