Joan Rivers Clinic Under Investigation Amid Medical Malpractice Claim
The clinic where comedian Joan Rivers stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest is currently under investigation. Rivers went to Yorkville Endoscopy in Manhattan on August 28th for a routine throat endoscopy procedure and was later rushed to Mt. Sinai Hospital and placed on life support when she stopped breathing during the procedure. She died on September 4th at the age of 81.
The New York State Department of Health had already started investigating Yorkville Endoscopy at the time of Rivers’ death, but the case came under public scrutiny after an anonymous source told the New York Daily News that an unplanned throat biopsy is what caused the comedy legend to stop breathing. According to the source, the biopsy was performed by an ear, nose, and throat specialist who traveled with Rivers. When the doctor performing the endoscopy saw something unusual on Rivers’ vocal cords, Rivers’ ear, nose, and throat specialist asked to use the clinic’s instruments, which the clinic allowed, something the source says is a breach of standard practices. Rivers had only approved an endoscopy procedure, not a vocal cord biopsy, which is a riskier procedure that should be performed in a hospital setting, not an outpatient clinic.
Yorkville Endoscopy released a statement denying the allegations, claiming they have never performed a vocal cord biopsy. Yorkville Endoscopy opened in February 2013 and has since performed over 18,000 endoscopy procedures. In a statement, the clinic said they have, “…an exceptional safety record that far exceeds the national average.” However, two doctors affiliated with the clinic were sued for medical malpractice in 2004. One doctor has resigned from the clinic in the wake of the New York Daily News story.