DENVER (CN) – Two plastic surgeons who performed the liposuction of Lawrence Argent, a sculptor best known for the 40-foot-tall blue bear peeking into the Colorado Convention Center, face a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Argent’s family Thursday.
Argent’s family say he was a healthy and vivacious 60-year-old when he underwent a liposuction procedure at Yosemite Street Surgery in Lone Tree, Colorado, on Oct. 3, 2017. He suffered a heart attack the next day.
Dr. Dan Rogers provided anesthesia and Dr. John Millard performed the surgery. But according to the lawsuit, Argent “exhibited signs and symptoms of complications from the liposuction procedure including pain, unstable blood pressure, unstable oxygen saturation levels, inability to void and tachycardia.”
The family says the doctors nevertheless decided to discharge Argent at 6 p.m., after which his conditions worsened. Argent suffered a heart attack at 1:50 p.m. on Oct. 4, 2017, with related kidney failure and hyperkalemia. He died at the Rose Medical Center later that evening.
According to the sparse 11-page complaint, Argent requested “body contouring due to his frequent public appearances as an artist” along his upper and lower abs.
The clinic has since been renamed InSight Surgery Center but continues to perform “vaser hi-def lipsuction” procedures.
Formally titled “I See What You Mean,” the big blue bear is one of many whimsical animals Argent created and installed around the world including a literally giant panda in Chengdu, China, and a brilliant red rabbit at the Sacramento International Airport.
Argent was born in Essex, England, in 1957 and taught at the University of Denver School of Art and Art History from 1993 until his death.
The artist is survived by his children Quinn and Camron, who are represented by attorney David Woodruff of the Denver firm Wahlberg, Woodruff, Nimmo & Sloane.
Argent’s family requests a jury trial as well as unspecified “general and special damages, both past and future.”
Judge Eric Johnson, who was appointed by Gov. Jared Polis in March, will preside over the case.