When comedian and media industry maven Joan Rivers died unexpectedly at the age of 81, millions mourned. But now as new details emerge as a result of the multi-million dollar lawsuit that her daughter Melissa has filed against the clinic that she holds responsible for her mother’s death, many are alleging that Joan never would have experienced any medical problems at all if it were not for the negligence of the physicians, reported the New York Daily News.
Among those listed in the lawsuit is the lead anesthesiologist, Dr. Renuka Bankulla. Now it’s been revealed that Bankulla was targeted in a malpractice lawsuit that resulted in a mother’s death during childbirth.
“The defendant dispensed anesthesia during an epidural to (the mother) in an inadequate manner,” according to the legal firm representing the mother’s estate.
However, Bankulla’s lawyer Bruce Brady defended his client.
“It’s unfair to bring up an incident that happened 16 years ago that has nothing to do with the Joan Rivers situation,” asserted Brady.
Melissa Rivers’ lawyers, Jeffrey Bloom and Ben Rubinowitz, list the issues in their court paper surrounding what really happened in that operating room at the Yorkville Endoscopy Center last August.
The procedure was intended only for an examination of Joan’s esophagus. She had stated previously that she was concerned about problems with her voice, possibly resulting from acid reflux. However, anesthesiologist Bankulla initially raised an objection when Yorkville’s medical director, Lawrence Cohen, entered the room with River’s ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialist Dr. Gwen Korovin.
Although the ENT expert wore scrubs and wanted to evaluate Joan’s windpipe, the suit states that Bankulla voiced an objection on several grounds. First, Joan had not authorized that procedure. Second, she was unable to give her view because she was already under sedation. And third, celebrity voice specialist Korovin had no authorization to perform any type of medical procedure at the Yorkville clinic, according to the lawsuit.
The Joan Rivers lawsuit focuses on preventing future such tragedies, reported CNN News.
“[The family wants to] make certain that the many medical deficiencies that led to Joan Rivers’ death are never repeated by any outpatient surgery center,” states the lawsuit,which also alleges that the doctors were “reckless, grossly negligent and wanton.”
However, although Joan initially went to the clinic with unspecified voice problems and knew that she would be sedated, she previously confessed on several talk shows that she struggled with crash diets, irregular heartbeats, and bulimia, as the Inquisitr reported.
During an interview with Joan Lunden, Rivers talked about her weight loss obsession and heart irregularity.
“All of a sudden you’ll be on stage and hear ‘tha-thud!’… It scares the hell out of me. When you go under, say for plastic surgery or something like that, that’s when your heart can go out of kilter. So I’m always very careful.
“I diet all the time. If ketchup dropped on one of your children, you should not leave her in the room alone with me.”
In addition, during an appearance on the Dr. Oz Show, Rivers admitted that she had struggled with bulimia for years. She told him that her eating disorder started after her husband committed suicide. As Dr. Oz expressed concern about the health dangers of purging, Joan admitted that she felt her dangerous diet was a way that she could control her life.
Despite the risks of bulimia, Joan confessed that she felt wonderful when she purged. She viewed it as the perfect diet, because she could satisfy her hunger yet stay slim. However, she told Dr. Oz at the time that she had stopped the behavior.
According to the National Center for Eating Disorders, however, bulimia inflicts trauma to the body that does not necessarily halt when the purging behavior ceases. The gut wall may be permanently damaged, and the salivary glands can be adversely impacted. Bulimia also affects the throat.
The decision to file the lawsuit is just one of many challenging decisions that Melissa Rivers has faced since she first learned of the unanticipated medical emergency following her mother’s procedure, as the Inquisitr reported.
In having to decide whether to remove her mother Joan from life support, she had to step back from the close relationship that the two shared as mother and daughter, work colleagues, and best friends.
What goes into an end-of-life decision such as Melissa Rivers faced? She had to ask the physicians for the truth about Joan Rivers. At 81, did her mother, with whom she had such a deep bond, have the ability to recover the full use of her brain and body? If not, to what extent would she be potentially incapacitated?
Melissa’s announcement about her mother’s death reveals her courage and peace with her decision.
“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.”
[Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images]