Earlier this month beloved comedian Joan Rivers passed away. It is still unclear precisely what caused her death in a New York hospital. Whether her death was the result of a surgical error or some other form of medical malpractice is not yet known. However, what is known is that the doctor who was performing a procedure on her when she became ill is no longer performing procedures.
Doctor No Longer Performing Procedures
ABC News reports that the doctor who performed the endoscopy on Joan Rivers shortly before she went into cardiac arrest has been asked to step down at Yorkville Endoscopy. The doctor, Dr. Lawrence Cohen, is the clinic's former medical director and is a gastroenterologist. The clinic told ABC News that Dr. Cohen, “is not currently performing procedures at Yorkville Endoscopy; nor is he currently serving as medical director.” The clinic gave no official reason, but an unnamed source said that the doctor was asked to step down because he allowed a specialist who was not authorized to practice at the clinic to examine Ms. Rivers.
The New York Daily News reports that an unnamed source claims that an ear, nose and throat specialist who accompanied Ms. Rivers to the clinic performed an unplanned biopsy on her vocal cords. The clinic denies that the procedure occurred. However, the source claims that the procedure did occur once something was spotted on Rivers' vocal cords during the procedure, and that Ms. Rivers had not previously given consent for a biopsy. The New York Times confirms that the specialist was present at the clinic in the operating room during the procedure. The health department and the medical examiner are both currently investigating Ms. Rivers' death. It is not clear what lead to the breathing problems that resulted in cardiac arrest—it could have been the procedure itself, or it could have been a mistake with the propofol that was allegedly administered during the procedure.
What we Know About Ms. Rivers' Death
The Washington Post, relying in part on previous reporting by The New York Times, reported earlier this week on what we know about how Ms. Rivers died. A family spokesperson has said that Ms. Rivers was at the Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic so that doctors could work on her vocal cords. A friend of Ms. Rivers told ABC News that the procedure was a diagnostic one to determine why her voice had become raspy. There have been conflicting reports stating that Ms. Rivers took ill during the procedure when a doctor attempted to perform a biopsy on her vocal cords, but the facility claims that it does not perform vocal cord biopsies. The facility also claims that it has never administered general anesthesia.
Whatever happened during the procedure, eventually the clinic called 9-1-1 and reported that a patient was in cardiac arrest. An ambulance took Ms. Rivers to Mount Sinai Hospital. Throughout this whole process various medical personnel attempted to revive her. She was admitted to the hospital, and eventually passed away seven days later.
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