“What did they do as she was dying? The doctors actually posed for ‘selfies’ with their famous patient as her condition deteriorated.”
The only child of comedienne Joan Rivers filed a malpractice lawsuit yesterday in New York Supreme Court, against the New York medical center that performed surgical procedures on her mother just days before her death. The suit also names the clinic’s parent company and five physicians as responsible for the death of the patient:
> Doctor Gail Korovin
> Doctor Renuka Bankulla
> Doctor Robert Koniuta
> Doctor Suzanne Scarola
> Doctor Lawrence B. Cohen
In a written statement, Melissa Rivers said this: “The level of medical mismanagement, incompetence, disrespect and outrageous behavior is shocking and frankly, almost incomprehensible.”
Joan Rivers, who was 81 at the time of her death, underwent procedures to examine her throat and vocal chords at the Yorkville Endoscopy Center in New York City. She fell into a coma and died a week later. The cause of death was determined to be “loss of oxygen to her brain” while doctors were examining her throat.
According to the lawsuit, the physicians involved were not properly trained to recognize and manage an “emergency airway obstruction” and they for some reason failed to recognize that her vital signs were deteriorating at the time.
The lawsuit explicitly states also that the Yorkville Endoscopy Center allowed an unauthorized doctor to conduct procedures that Rivers had not agreed to – namely – a “trans-nasal laryngoscopy,” when a scope is passed through the nose into the back of the throat.
It was during the second of the two procedures, the lawsuit says, that Joan Rivers’ blood pressure and heartbeat dropped to dangerous levels and that she could no longer breathe.
It was at this time that one doctor actually took out his cell phone and snapped photos of himself and another physician as they treated the unconscious patient, the lawsuit states.
Investigators learned that as Rivers’ condition grew worse and doctors eventually noticed her failing condition, the physician who conducted the procedure quickly left, because “she knew she was not supposed to be there and wanted to avoid getting caught,” according to the complaint. The suit also claims the medical staff was far too reluctant to call 911.
Earlier this month the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services found the Yorkville Clinic guilty of failing to follow standard protocols during the medical treatment of Rivers, including some of the behavior specified in the lawsuit.
The clinic was given 90 days to correct its deficiencies or face revocation of its accreditation and funding.
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