Joan Rivers passed away last year after a relatively minor exploratory surgery on her vocal cords. Now her daughter has filed a malpractice lawsuit against the doctor on the case, Gwen Korovin, as well as the medical director of Yorkville Endoscopy, Lawrence Cohen.
Before the surgery, the anesthesiologist warned that Rivers’ vocal cords were very swollen and they may seize, which would leave the comedian unable to breathe. Cohen told the anesthesiologist that he was paranoid and continued with the operation.
Unfortunately, Rivers went into cardiac and respiratory arrest and died a few days later. There have not been any official results yet about cause of death, but federal health investigators say that there were several medical errors involved. They noted that the doctors treating Rivers did not notice that her vital signs were dropping, and also that the vocal cords did close, which limited her breathing.
The lawsuit claims that the doctors treating Rivers were oblivious to what was happening on the operating table. In fact, Cohen is accused of taking pictures of her with his cell phone while she has lying on the operating table, possibly experiencing brain damage as she was not breathing properly.
They eventually realized she was suffering from an airway obstruction but they did not call for the crash cart, which could have restored her breathing more quickly, the suit states.
The lawsuit documents state that Rivers’ doctors were star struck and were giving her treatments they probably should not have.
Our personal injury firm has handled many medical malpractice cases. Although most people who are injured or killed annually from medical errors are not famous as Rivers was, they and their families suffer just the same. About 225,000 people die every year due to medical malpractice. In such cases, the families should seek legal counsel to learn what their options are.