We wrote about the Joan Rivers tragedy shortly after the 81-year-old comedienne’s death during an endoscopy in September of last year. The Manhattan clinic that treated comedian Joan Rivers before her death allegedly made a number of serious mistakes, including failing to identify deteriorating vital signs, and providing timely intervention, according to a report released Monday.
The report, which was published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), included a list of major error committed by the clinic:
— Failing to identify deteriorating vital signs and provide timely intervention;
— Failing to record Rivers’ weight, prior to the administration of medication for sedation;
— Failing to consistently document the dose of Propofol, a sedative, administered;
— Failing to get Rivers’ informed consent for each procedure performed;
— Failing to ensure that she was cared for only by physicians granted privilege in accordance with the clinic’s bylaws;
— And finally, failing to abide by its own cell phone policy (the report found that a photograph was taken of a surgeon and Rivers while she was under sedation).
As might have been suspected from the mysterious circumstances surrounding this typically routine medical procedure, Joan’s daughter Melissa has now launched a malpractice lawsuit against the clinic in question. According to the lawsuit’s allegations, the doctors at Yorkville Endoscopy in Manhattan’s Upper East Side took operating room selfies and performed unauthorized procedures on Joan while she was sedated, and then failed to act once her health began to decline.
Joan’s regular ear, nose and throat doctor Beth Korazin M.D.was admitted into the operating room as a guest, and then performed two medical procedures on her, in spite of the fact that she was not permitted to operate in the clinic. When the anesthesiologist present voiced her concern that the unauthorized laryngoscopy being performed on Joan might affect her breathing, the doctor was called “paranoid” by the gastroenterologist performing the procedure, who has since resigned. Korovin is a licensed medical doctor, but she “did not have privileges to perform surgical procedures” at Yorkville Endoscopy nor was she credentialed to perform procedures at the facility, according to the lawsuit.
After Rivers started to deteriorate further, the lawsuit alleges that Korovin left the room “because she knew she was not permitted to perform medical services or procedures” at that particular clinic and wanted to “avoid getting caught.”
From her public statements, it appears that Melissa Rivers is aware that no financial award could do anything to mitigate her grief at the loss of her mother. “What ultimately guided me was my unwavering belief that no family should ever have to go through what my mother, Cooper and I have been through,” Melissa said, referencing her child.
If Melissa’s high profile lawsuit is able to raise awareness about the prevalence of medical malpractice, get rid of one bad doctor, or even just serve as a reminder of the gravity and potential danger of even the most routine surgical procedures, it will have been worth it.