Former “Jeopardy!” champion Brayden Smith passed away in 2021.
When guest host and former “Jeopardy!” champion Buzzy Cohen was announcing the contestants for the 2021 Tournament of Champions, “Jeopardy!” made a special mention of Smith, who should have been attending the tournament as well.
“Brayden Smith, the incredible young man who won five shows and $115,000 dollars in January, passed away earlier this year,” Cohen explained. “Brayden’s family has established a fund in his name and ‘Jeopardy!’ will be donating to that fund. We want to express our best wishes and condolences to his family.”
On February 12, “Jeopardy!” had responded to the loss of Smith, writing, “The JEOPARDY! family is heartbroken by the tragic loss of Brayden Smith. He was kind, funny, and absolutely brilliant. Our deepest condolences go out to Brayden’s family. He will be missed.”
Smith’s loss was a devastating blow to the “Jeopardy!” community, especially after losing late host Alex Trebek so recently. On January 4, Brayden recorded a video reflecting on his time spent with the late host, who passed away of pancreatic cancer in November 2020. It was almost unfathomable to think that the 24-year-old would be joining him so soon.
Brayden Smith’s Parents Sue Las Vegas Hospital For Malpractice
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In January 2022, Smith’s parents filed a lawsuit against a hospital in Las Vegas, accusing the staff of negligence and medical malpractice that led to the death of their son.
His parents, Scott Smith and Deborah Smith, brought the lawsuit against St. Rose Dominican Hospital-Siena Campus, which is located in Henderson Nevada. Also named in the suit is the hospital corporation Dignity Health and several medical staff members.
An attorney representing Smith’s parents, Robert Murdock, said, “This case is not just about death. Brayden suffered before he died because of 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 names two doctors and a nurse who the parents state were responsible for caring for their son when he was hospitalized for complications related to ulcerative colitis. Smith’s parents say in the lawsuit that the medical staff never gave their son anticoagulants after his surgery. They also allege that the medical staff failed to meet medical standards of care.
Smith passed away shortly after receiving abdominal surgery, which he received in January 2021. After his surgery, he was discharged from St. Rose and sent home. Smith experienced complications from his surgery and was hospitalized after he collapsed weeks later. According to a coroner’s report, Smith died due to a blood clot in his lungs.
Fans Rally Behind Family, Express Support And Well-Wishes
I’m stunned to hear of Brayden Smith’s death. Brayden was an exemplary multiple #Jeopardy champion, 24 and about to go to law school. In our brief online interactions, he was kind and jovial. He had his whole life ahead. My ❤️ goes to the Smith family. #braydensmith#Jeopardy pic.twitter.com/Xhh8xMfDd7
— Burt Thakur (@albertthakur) February 12, 2021
Many fans took to social media to express their condolences for the late Smith and wished his family positive thoughts and prayers.
“I remember watching him on Jeopardy and thinking I couldn’t wait to see him on TOC [Tournament of Champions],” one fan wrote. “So sad that his death might have been avoided.”
“Terrible loss,” another added. “Whatever the outcome, I wish his family peace.”
“absolutely heartbreaking reading the details,” another shared. “[I] hope his family finds peace after all this.”
“So, sad. He seemed like a sweet kid, and a great champion,” another said. “May his family find peace and justice.”
Others questioned how it was possible he died of a blood clot in his lungs when he had abdominal surgery. One user attempted to address the contention.
“I work in a job that would handle these things,” they explained. “It sounds like he had surgery to remove his colon because whatever treatments they had tried for his UC (ulcerative colitis) weren’t working.”
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“UC and Crohn’s are inflammatory bowel diseases and are associated with a higher risk of clotting (commonly called DVT’s and PE’s (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism), which are part of the same phenomenon,” they went on. “A DVT in the legs, where these clots usually start, if it breaks free and gets to the lungs is a PE.”
“Surgery by itself is pro-thrombogenic (pro-clotting) so generally speaking, we are combining two thrombogenic events, both an inflammatory bowel condition and surgery,” they added. “However, you can also bleed after surgery, so sometimes preventative anticoagulation is held for a time. And if he was ambulatory quickly after surgery it’s possible either doctor or both decided maybe it wasn’t necessary.”
Although the lawsuit might be causing division among “Jeopardy!” fans, one thing that they can all agree on is that Brayden Smith was a terrific talent who passed away much too soon.