Joan Rivers Death Caused by Medical Negligence

01/30/2015 | Medical Malpractice

No matter how you feel about her style of comedy, Joan Rivers was a comedy legend whose life was abruptly ended when her oxygen supply was cut off at a New York clinic during a medical procedure.  Rivers was not undergoing plastic surgery at the clinic, but an endoscopy to have her vocal cords biopsied after changes in her voice and acid reflux disease.  The Medical Examiner’s office recently determined Rivers’ oxygen supply was cut off during the procedure, causing cardiac arrest then a coma.  Life support was ultimately removed and she passed away a short time later. 

 The Medical Examiner classified Rivers’ death as a “therapeutic complication” which seems to be another term for “medical negligence.”  Joan’s daughter, Melissa, has now hired a law firm to handle a medical negligence case against the clinic and physicians involved.  Though hired by Melissa, the lawsuit will technically be brought by Joan’s estate which became the legal entity to represent Joan’s interests after her death. 

 A goal of the lawsuit is to ensure the same mistakes made in Rivers’ case are not repeated by this, or any, outpatient surgery center.  The lawsuit also alleges procedures were performed on Rivers that she did not consent to and that a physician involved in her treatment did not have proper credentials or privileges at the facility.  After performing a procedure for which they did not obtain proper written consent, the physicians continued on with the procedure they were supposed to perform, but did not maintain Rivers’ airway and did not properly monitor her vital signs which had dropped significantly.  The suit also alleges one of the doctors took a selfie with Rivers while she was sedated during the procedure, without her consent.  After realizing Rivers’ vital signs had dropped the physicians also negligently handled her care, the lawsuit alleges. When she began to deteriorate the physician with improper credentials and privileges left the room to avoid getting caught performing procedures in the facility. 

 Ultimately, brining the lawsuit was hard for Melissa Rivers who stated in part, “Filing this lawsuit was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make.   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…Not only did my mother deserve better, every patient deserves better.” 

 The Poppe Law Firm is proud to represent patients and their families who have been injured, or even killed, by medical negligence or improper nursing care.  The decision to file suit is often hard for many, especially if a loved one was lost.  However, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible because there are legal deadlines by which cases must be filed.  If the deadline is missed the case can never be brought, no matter how egregious the negligence or injuries.