Doctor Denies Role In Joan Rivers’ Death, Fires Back With Her Own Legal Papers

‘I did everything to save her,’ says the anesthesiologist who is at the center of a legal investigation over the death of Joan Rivers. The doctor in question is adamant that she went above and beyond to attempt to resuscitate the 81-year-old comedian when she flat-lined on the operating table during a throat biopsy at the Upper East Side clinic. Rivers died a week later at a New York City hospital without regaining consciousness.

As WENN indicates, “A medical examiner concluded Rivers’ death was caused by hypoxic arrest, when the supply of oxygen to her brain was cut off during the medical procedure.” The star’s daughter, Melissa, then proceeded to file a lawsuit implicating the clinic and Dr. Renuka Bankulla, the anesthesiologist who oversaw the operation.

Bankulla is now reciprocating the legal attack, as she has now filed legal papers against the claims that she failed to demand a “crash cart” when Rivers’ breathing and heart rate dropped. She insists she took every step necessary to save the star’s life, according to the New York Post.

Dr. Bankull, via New York Post

The board-certified anesthesiologist, however, claims that a crash cart was available in the operating room and, as the New York Post notes, disputes Melissa’s claim that doctors could have saved Joan “if they had administered a muscle relaxant, succinylcholine, that loosens seized vocal cords.”

In her Manhattan Supreme Court filing, Bankulla explains the state of Rivers on the operating table at the moment star flat-lined.

“The laryngospasm had already broken, and Joan Rivers was being adequately oxygenated with mask ventilation.”

In addition, Bankulla stated strongly the her allegations against Gwen Korovin, Joan River’s celebrity throat doctor, in reference to Korovin fleeing the scene as soon as Rivers’ vitals went “haywire,” are factual. These allegations are contrary to Korovin’s assertions that she stuck by Rivers side until the ambulance arrived.

Both Bankulla and Korovin are targeted in the malpractice suit in the case of Joan Rivers. Both have denied all allegations.

“The claims of malpractice are unfounded,” said Bruce Brady, who is representing Bankulla. He declined to say more. It is, however, unclear what company Bankulla was working for while she administered anesthesia to Rivers.

As the Lohud Journal shares, “Many hospitals and clinics hire outside companies to provide anesthesiologists. Bankulla formerly worked for one such company in New Rochelle, Somnia Anesthesia.” A spokeswoman said Bankulla hadn’t worked for the company in three or four years. It has also been noted that Bankulla went to medical school in India and has no record against her of previous disciplinary action.

Melissa Rivers’ 44-page suit gained an immediate legal response from Bankulla, who filed her answer immediately despite the fact that she had a deadline that was 30 days away.

[Feature image via the New York Post]