White's family's suit claims negligence

Updated: February 2, 2010, 4:06 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PITTSBURGH -- The family of former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Dwight White is suing the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and three doctors, claiming negligence contributed to his death.

Monday's suit in Allegheny County Court says one of White's doctors was out of town and another prescribed an over-the-counter medication when he weakened after being discharged from back surgery in May 2008.

White's wife took him to an emergency room when his condition worsened. A blood clot was diagnosed in his lung, and he died June 6, 2008, at UPMC Presbyterian hospital at age 58.

White family attorney Art Schwarzwaelder says the athlete's doctors missed chances to save his life.

The suit seeks damages of more than $25,000. UPMC declined to comment Tuesday.

White was a member of the Steelers' Steel Curtain defense, which won four Super Bowls in the 1970s.

White, a two-time Pro Bowl player, was chosen as one of the 33 members of the Steelers' 75th anniversary all-time team.

White was best known for climbing out of a hospital bed to play in the Steelers' first Super Bowl victory, 16-6 over the Minnesota Vikings in 1975. White lost 18 pounds after being diagnosed with pneumonia and a lung infection, yet played nearly the entire game.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.