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Joan Rivers’ Daughter Files Medical Malpractice Lawsuit


On September 4, 2014, groundbreaking comedienne and fashion show host Joan Rivers underwent what was supposed to be a routine endoscopy, but she never woke up. The details that have been uncovered regarding her procedure and death have led to a medical malpractice lawsuit, filed by her daughter Melissa Rivers.

The Mishandled Endoscopy

Joan Rivers went to Yorkville Endoscopy last September to have her throat checked, since it had been raspy. The report from the city’s medical examiner showed that Rivers had died from brain damage cause by lack of oxygen after she stopped breathing during the procedure.

The lawsuit claims that the doctors mishandled Joan River’s endoscopy in a number of ways. A federal investigation shows that the clinic failed to record Rivers’ weight before sedating her, that they failed to keep proper medication records, and that the doctors (including Rivers’ own doctor) allowed a cellphone “selfie” to be taken of Rivers while she was sedated on the operating table.

Attorney Ben Rubinowitz and co-counsel Jeffrey Bloom said the following in a statement:

“To put it mildly, we are not just disappointed by the acts and omissions leading to the death of Joan Rivers, but we are outraged by the lack of care and concern for Ms. Rivers on the part of her treating physicians and the endoscopy center where the treatment was rendered.”

Bloom also said the following:

“Had the doctors acted as physicians for Joan Rivers instead of groupies, Joan Rivers would have been doing Fashion Police last week.”

The Lawsuit

Melissa Rivers, daughter of Joan Rivers, filed a lawsuit against Yorkville Endoscopy on Monday, January 26, 2015. She shared that it was one of the most difficult decisions she has had to make. In a statement, she referenced her mother and her son as she said:

“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… It is my goal to make sure that this kind of horrific medical treatment never happens to anyone again.”

Attorney Rubinowitz said that Melissa hopes to ensure that ambulatory surgical centers—such as Yorkville Endoscopy—will be held to the same strict standards and regulations as hospitals in regards to equipment, training, and physician credentials.

Click here to read USA Today’s article on the issue.

Need a Washington, D.C. medical malpractice attorney?

The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D & Associates has represented clients in many types of medical malpractice cases. If you or someone you know has suffered injury or wrongful death due to medical negligence, call the firm today to schedule a consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer in Washington, DC. Attorney Wilson is a certified physician as well as a seasoned attorney. His firsthand experience and insight into the medical field gives him an edge when negotiating settlements or litigating on his clients’ behalves.

Contact the firm today at (202) 223-4488 for your free initial consultation.

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