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Joan Rivers’ daughter sues clinic over star’s death

January 27, 2015

Joan Rivers’ daughter has filed a lawsuit against the New York medical clinic that treated her mother days before she died.

The BBC reports the legal claim alleges doctors were not adequately trained and performed unauthorised procedures on the star.

Rivers’ family is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

The controversial comedian died in September, aged 81, seven days after she stopped breathing during a routine operation on her vocal chords.

The legal claim alleges staff were not properly trained to detect Rivers’ deteriorating vital signs or deal with the type of emergency airway obstruction she suffered before going into cardiac arrest.

It also claims Ms Korovin left the room at this point because she knew she was not permitted to be there and “wanted to avoid getting caught”.

A report released by the New York Department of Health cited multiple errors, including failing to detect Rivers’ deteriorating vital signs during the procedure.

The medical examiner’s office ruled Rivers died of brain damage due to lack of oxygen.

The death was classified as a “therapeutic complication”, meaning it was a known risk.

But Melissa Rivers claims doctors mishandled the endoscopy and performed another procedure – carried out by specialist Gwen Korovin who was not cleared to work at the clinic – without consent.

During the second procedure, gastroenterologist Dr Lawrence Cohen and Ms Korovin took pictures on their mobile phones of themselves with the sedated comedian. Ms Korovin later said she thought Rivers would have wanted to see the images. Dr Cohen has since resigned.

In a statement, Melissa Rivers said: “The level of medical mismanagement, incompentency, disrespect and outrageous behavior is shocking and frankly, almost incomprehensible. Not only did my mother deserve better, every patient deserves better.”

“Joan Rivers needed to be treated as a patient by her doctors… instead they treated her as a groupie,” lawyer Jeffrey Bloom said. “If she was treated as a patient she’d be on ‘Fashion Police’ today, making people smile.”

GT (Gay Times) was one of the final publications to speak with Joan Rivers and named her among 30 ‘gay icons’ in October.

In the interview Rivers spoke of her plans for the future and defended joking about Michelle Obama resembling a “tranny”.

Despite her controversial nature, many in the LGBT community saw her as a staunch ally.

Rivers began her charitable work for the community in the eighties, delivering food parcels at Christmas to men dying from AIDS in New York City.

She also spoke up in supporting of legalising same-sex marriage.

 

 

More: celebrity death, comedian, gay icon, joan rivers, malpractice, US

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