Investigators cite medical negligence in Joan Rivers' death


Many Pennsylvanians loved Joan Rivers, and some loathed her. Her wit and humor, whether on TV or the red carpet or onstage, was brash and unflinching. For most people, the sudden death of the 81-yer-old comedian and TV personality came as a shock. She reportedly died while undergoing what were supposed to be routine medical procedures. Almost immediately afterward, New York state authorities began investigating to determine if medical negligence was involved in her death.

Now an investigation by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has concluded that medical errors did indeed lead to her death. According to investigators, numerous mishaps at the Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic compromised both the surgery and the medical procedures performed on Rivers. Among the most critical was the medical staff's failure to record Rivers' weight before administering the drug Propofol. Staff also failed to identify her failing vital signs during surgery and were unable to perform lifesaving measures when her condition suddenly deteriorated.

Investigators also found that the medical staff performed medical procedures without having Rivers' consent and broke hospital protocol by allowing cell phones in surgery. Routine procedures were supposed to check her vocal chords and correct her acid reflux. Her condition changed suddenly, and she died a week after admission to the upstate clinic.

The comedian's death can serve as a reminder to Pennsylvania's patients and medical practitioners that even the most routine medical procedures can be fatal if medical errors result from inattention or someone's failure to follow proper procedures. If this is the result, the family of a victim can file a medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of their deceased loved one. The legal action can hold the medical practitioner liable and result in compensation to help the family with financial injuries.

Source: Guardinalv.com, "Joan Rivers Untimely Death Due to Mishaps," Dwayne Stanelli, Nov. 15, 2014

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