Saturday 3 December 2016

Joan Rivers' daughter settles lawsuit against clinic which treated her mother

Published 13/05/2016 | 04:01

Joan Rivers' family have settled a medical malpractice lawsuit against Yorkville Endoscopy (AP)
Joan Rivers' family have settled a medical malpractice lawsuit against Yorkville Endoscopy (AP)

The family of comedian Joan Rivers has settled a lawsuit against the medical clinic which treated her shortly before her death.

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The 81-year-old died days after undergoing a routine endoscopy at Yorkville Endoscopy in New York.

Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging that doctors carried out unauthorised medical procedures, took a selfie with the comedian and failed to act as her vital signs deteriorated.

Melissa Rivers' lawyers said they were pleased that the case had been resolved, but did not specify the amount of the settlement.

They added that they wanted to "make certain that the focus of this horrific incident remains on improved patient care and the legacy of Joan Rivers".

Melissa Rivers said the settlement allows her to "put the legal aspects of my mother's death behind me and ensure that those culpable for her death have accepted responsibility for their actions quickly and without equivocation".

She said she will continue working to ensure higher safety standards at out-patient surgical clinics.

The lawsuit had alleged that doctors at the clinic mishandled Ms Rivers' endoscopy and performed another procedure, known as a laryngoscopy, on her vocal cords without consent.

The lawsuit claimed that an anaesthesiologist expressed concern over what the procedure would do to Ms Rivers' ability to breathe, but was told she was being "paranoid" by the gastroenterologist performing the endoscopy.

The city's medical examiner found that Ms Rivers died of brain damage due to lack of oxygen after she stopped breathing during the endoscopy. Her death was classified as a therapeutic complication. The classification is not commonly used.

A spokesman for Yorkville Endoscopy said both sides agreed to settle the case to avoid protracted litigation.

A statement from the clinic said: "Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the Rivers family.

"We remain committed to providing quality, compassionate healthcare services that meet the needs of our patients, their families and the community."

The federal Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services found after an investigation that the clinic made several errors, including failing to keep proper medication records and taking mobile phone photos.

The investigation also found that the clinic had failed to receive informed consent for every procedure performed and failed to record Ms Rivers' weight before administering sedation medication.

Press Association

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