joan rivers portrait

Medical Malpractice Settlement Reached in Joan Rivers Death

It was major and tragic news when Joan Rivers passed away after undergoing a relatively routine procedure at a New York City clinic. After the 81-year-old comedian died, her family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the clinic. The New York Times reports that the lawsuit has been settled.

The New York Times reports that Rivers died on September 4, 2014, seven days after she underwent a laryngoscopy (an examination of her vocal chords) and endoscopy (an examination of her upper digestive system). It was during that procedure that Rivers reportedly stopped breathing. Medical staff was unable to revive her. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. The Times reports that, in her complaint, Melissa Rivers alleged that a doctor took a cell phone picture of Rivers on the operating table and, subsequently, failed to adequately respond when Rivers’ vocal chords showed signs of swelling. The suit claimed that an anesthesiologist assigned to the procedure expressed concern about the swelling in Rivers’ vocal chords, but those concerns were dismissed. The AP reports that it was ultimately found that Rivers died of brain damage due to a lack of oxygen.

After the settlement was announced, Rivers’ attorneys refused to disclose the details. According to the AP, in a statement, Ben Rubinowitz and Jeff Bloom said that they wanted to “make certain that the focus of this horrific incident remains on improved patient care and the legacy of Joan Rivers.”

When people enter the hospital or clinic for a procedure, they put their trust in their medical professional. When that trust is broken, patients and their families can suffer. An experienced attorney like Carr and Weatherby can help evaluate your case and seek compensation for your injuries caused by medical neglect or error.