Saturday 14 December 2019

Doc calls macabre 'selfie' claims completely crazy

US Diary

'PANTING AND PARANOID': Maureen Dowd after experimenting with edible marijuana. Photo credit: David Conachy
'PANTING AND PARANOID': Maureen Dowd after experimenting with edible marijuana. Photo credit: David Conachy

Orla Healy

If the bizarre story about Joan Rivers' doctor pausing to take a "selfie" in the operating room minutes before the 81-year-old comedienne went into cardiac arrest on August 29 sounded outlandish, that's because it was.

So says Dr Gwen Korovin, Rivers' personal physician who on Thursday night shot down a CNN report claiming Korovin was so star-struck she took the opportunity of her celebrity patient being unconscious to snap a souvenir photo of the two of them together.

CNN, citing sources close to the investigation being carried out by the medical examiner's office, is standing by its claim that a sedated Rivers was clearly visible in Korovin's procedure room selfie - an allegation Korovin's lawyers are calling "lies".

Korovin, (known as the "patron saint of Broadway singers and actors" for her work tending to the likes of Lady Gaga, Hugh Jackman, Julie Andrews, Celine Dion, Mick Jagger and Luciano Pavarotti) also "categorically" denied performing an unauthorised biopsy on Rivers which, according to multiple published reports, caused the heart attack that killed the beloved New Yorker during what should have been a routine medical procedure.

Whatever Rivers would have made of the escalating drama surrounding her mysterious death, those close to her say she would be thrilled by the news that Vanity Fair scribe Leslie Bennetts has been signed to write her biography, due out early next year.

"Joan Rivers' life story was, in every way, a remarkably dramatic roller-coaster ride characterised by triumphant highs and devastating lows, one that is both wildly entertaining and deeply moving," Bennetts said in a statement. "It's hard to imagine a more compelling subject for a book or one that would be more fun." And lucrative. Within hours of Rivers' death, sales of her latest book (Diary of a Mad Diva) shot up an impressive - and record-breaking - 70,750pc on Amazon.

Lost in translation

Garth Brooks seems to think his Irish fans weren't that put out by the Croke Park debacle. In the run-up to his latest seven-performance run, which kicked off in Atlanta on Friday night, the self-effacing singer-songwriter made reference to his cancelled Irish gigs when asked what the secret is behind his ongoing appeal.

"I wish I could explain it: Of course - I'm beautiful, are you kidding me? I'm talented," the 52-year-old joked with reporters. "But I don't get it...If the Garth guy shows up or not, these guys are still going to have the same great time," he said, using his Irish fans as a case in point. "We saw video footage of people in Ireland, at a bar the night we were supposed to be there, singing Friends in Low Places and they were having the time of their lives... It's like it's their show." As if.

Dowd deals with pot shots

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Maureen Dowd is on quite a high after learning that she has been cast as the poster girl for a new "Consume Responsibly" edible pot publicity campaign.

The 62-year-old New York Times op-ed columnist, who got (unintentionally) stoned last summer while researching a story about Colorado's recent decision to legalise the use of recreational marijuana, doesn't even mind that the pro-pot brigade are making fun of her nightmare experience with cannabis to warn rookies about the dangers of overdosing.

Dowd, who decided to test the benefits of pot with a few bites of a weed-infused chocolate bar wrote about the results ("What could go wrong?") in a column (titled "Don't Harsh Our Mellow, Dude") which was published in June, graphically recalling how - an hour after ingesting the bar, things went haywire.

"I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours... I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn't answer, he'd call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy," she wrote.

"As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me."

A medical consultant would later tell Dowd that marijuana candy bars "are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices," a point she used to condemn the marijuana industry for promoting the drug without safety precautions for first-time users.

On Wednesday, the advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) responded to Dowd's criticism by unveiling a giant billboard featuring a red-haired woman (who looks exactly like the writer) obviously worse for wear on a hotel room bed. "Don't let a candy bar ruin your vacation," reads the tagline. "With edibles, start low and go slow."

Dowd, who wasn't in the slightest fazed at her likeness or her story being used in the ad said she has her own plans for artwork from the billboard.

"I'm going to make it my Christmas card. Now," she said, adding dryly, "onto gun control."

Sunday Independent

Also in this section