Joan Rivers’ family is reportedly considering suing the Manhattan surgical center where she underwent the throat surgery that led to her death on September 4, 2014. The beloved actress and comedian stopped breathing and went into cardiac and respiratory arrest during a vocal cord procedure on August 28 at Yorkville Endoscopy. She was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where she was placed into a medically induced coma and put on life support as her condition deteriorated. Rumors are now swirling that the procedure at Yorkville, which was supposed to be routine, was botched.
The New York State Health Department said that the clinic is currently under investigation, but so far no wrongdoing is suspected. Yorkville Endoscopy was established in 2013 and there have been no complaints of violations regarding the clinic to date. It’s possible that there were complications during the procedure, but it is also likely that the surgery went wrong because of her aging body. A source claims that the procedure was a serious one and should not have been performed on an 81 year old. “The night before, she was performing, and now she is on life support,” the source said before Rivers’ death.
Rivers’ friend and collaborator Jay Redack visited the sharp-witted comedian on Sunday and said he was stunned by her condition. Redack said he had gone to dinner with her the night before her surgery and that they had discussed the minor throat procedure she was about to undergo. He said Rivers, who performed a comic routine that night at the Laurie Beechman Theatre near Times Square, showed no signs of anything medically wrong. “We talked about life, Melissa, boyfriends, tennis lessons, and talked about her act,” he said. “You know how polarizing she could be, but people don’t realize what a fantastic lady she is, the charities that she supports, without fanfare, without people knowing. She is a great person.”
By September 3, Rivers was transported out of intensive care and was resting comfortably in a private room. There were fears that the cardiac and respiratory arrest may have damaged parts of her brain that control motor function and that she would have needed around-the-clock care when she woke up. However, it was reported that the comedian’s daughter, Melissa Rivers, made the heartbreaking decision to remove her from life support.
Melissa Rivers gave the following statement shortly after her death:
“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. She passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. surrounded by family and close friends. My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother. Cooper and I have found ourselves humbled by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we have received from around the world. They have been heard and appreciated. My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.”
The late comedian will be honored at a funeral at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan on September 7.
- Ingham A. Joan Rivers’ family considers lawsuit against medical team. Liberty Voice website. September 1, 2014.
- Katersky A, Messer L. Joan Rivers’ doctor’s office, Yorkville Endoscopy, under investigation – but wrongdoing not suspected. ABC News website. September 4, 2014.
- Rosenberg E, Hutchinson B. Joan Rivers being brought out of medically induced coma as family considers lawsuit over botched procedure: sources. New York Daily News website. September 1, 2014.
- Schumann R. Joan Rivers’ surgery clinic under investigation by New York health officials. International Business Times website. September 4, 2014.
- Vultaggio M. Yorkville Endoscopy: about the clinic where Joan Rivers had throat procedure. International Business Times website. September 4, 2014.