When Joan Rivers died last fall, there were three doctors in the room presiding over her botched throat procedure – a procedure of fatal consequences that experts are saying could have been prevented by the anaesthetist. That anaesthetist has now been identified by the New York Post. The name of the anaesthetist is Renuka Reddy Bankulla.
Dr. Bankulla (47) was at Yorkville Endoscopy in New York when Joan Rivers’ life was snuffed out. Bankulla was responsible for Joan’s care along with then Yorkville Endoscopy medical director Lawrence Cohen and celebrity ear, nose and throat doctor, Gwen Kororvin. Up to now, Bankulla has never been identified publicly.
According Dr Karen Sibert, a private anaesthetist in Los Angeles who specialises in treating high-risk adults, in addition to administering anaesthesia and sedatives, anaesthetists like Bankulla “must vigilantly watch the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure and other vital signs” to ensure the patient can breathe and “intervene promptly” when the patient is in trouble.
When reporters attempted to speak with Dr. Bankulla outside her home in Scarsdale, New York, Dr. Bankulla jumped in a car and fled the scene. Bankulla has remained silent on the August 28th, 2014 incident at Yorkville Endoscopy, the incident that led to Joan Rivers’ death one week later.
Rivers, who had been seeking a scope of her vocal cords to find out what was causing her hoarseness, went into cardiac arrest during the procedure. She died on September 4th. According to News.Com, when investigators for the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services tried to question Dr. Bankulla about Rivers’ treatment, she declined to cooperate.
According to a federal report, Dr. Bankulla said, “She was advised by counsel not to discuss the case at this time.”
She told investigators only that she gave Rivers 120 milligrams of the powerful anaesthetic Propofol (the same anesthetic that was involved in the death of Michael Jackson) — not the 300 stated in medical records. She explained that she had mistakenly “double-clicked” on computerised records. Dr Bankulla failed to record Rivers’ weight, which is critical to determining how much anaesthesia to administer.
The federal report cited Dr. Bankulla’s errors.
“The physicians in charge of the patient failed to identify deteriorating vital signs and provide timely intervention during the procedure.”
Jeffrey Bloom, a lawyer for Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, who plans to file a multimillion-dollar wrongful-death suit, declined to comment when asked about Dr. Bankulla.