Joan Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, is taking legal action against the New York clinic where a routine procedure resulted in fatal brain damage. With Joan’s physicians preoccupied in taking cell phone photos rather than monitor her vital signs, the doctors neglected to perform the trachea surgery needed to restore her oxygen flow and potentially save Rivers’ life, according to the court papers revealed by the New York Daily News.
The 47-year-old Fashion Police TV star filed her suit against the two doctors, three anesthesiologists, and the clinic involved in treating Joan Rivers, who was then 81, in August. The multi-million dollar lawsuit charges them with negligence resulting in the coma that lasted throughout Joan’s final days.
The procedure initially was intended to consist only of an endoscopy to investigate if any issues existed with Joan’s esophagus that might cause voice changes. In addition, however, the doctors performed a biopsy on her vocal cords without authorization.
According to the lawsuit, that biopsy caused a laryngospasm. Joan’s throat seized up, resulting in an oxygen loss to her brain. Moreover, Rivers was unable to expel carbon dioxide from her lungs, according to Melissa’s filing. That caused a heart attack and brain damage that could not be treated.
Lawyer Jeffrey Bloom talked with NBC News about Rivers’ lawsuit.
“Joan Rivers needed to be treated as a patient by her doctors… instead they treated her as a groupie,” said Bloom. “If she was treated as a patient she’d be on ‘Fashion Police’ today, making people smile.”
The clinic did not respond immediately to the lawsuit. However, the City Health Department has criticized it, and it also is in danger of losing its federal funding.
Melissa Rivers issued a statement about the reason for her decision to file the lawsuit.
“The level of medical mismanagement, incompentency, disrespect and outrageous behavior is shocking and frankly, almost incomprehensible. Not only did my mother deserve better, every patient deserves better.”
The suit contends a variety of allegations. Among them is one focusing on a physician Lawrence Cohen, who took out his cellphone to take photos of Rivers while she was under sedation.
When anesthesiologist Renuka Bankulla asked for a scope to be reinserted, Dr. Cohen dismissed her, according to the complaint.
“You’re such a curious cat,” said the physician. “You always want to know what’s going on.”
The lawsuit combined charges of medical negligence with carelessness.
“Our client Melissa Rivers couldn’t be more disappointed and disheartened by this outrageous medical conduct,” said attorney Ben Rubinowitz. “Hard to imagine a case where more medical negligence is stacked on medical carelessness.”
Those continuing Fashion Police without Joan Rivers haven’t found it easy, as the Inquisitr reported. For Kelly Osbourne, who was close to Joan, it’s been particularly challenging.
“I’m excited but terrified at the same time. Change isn’t fun, but it has to happen. This sitution f**king sucks,” summed up Kelly.
[Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images]