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Melissa Rivers Settles Medical Malpractice Suit with Joan Rivers’ Medical Clinic

Joan Rivers (left),   and daughter Melissa Rivers at the 2013 Matrix New York


Rivers has settled her medical malpractice lawsuit with her mother Joan’s New York City medical clinic, after 16 months of a bitter legal battle. Joan tragically passed away aged 81 on September 4, 2014, after she went in for a routine endoscopy.

Melissa Rivers, 48, sued Yorkville Endoscopy for negligence after doctors allegedly performed unauthorized medical procedures, posed for a photo with the her mother and failed to act as she deteriorated during her throat surgery, which ultimately led to her death.

In a statement released via her lawyers Ben Rubinowitz and Jeff Bloom on Thursday Melissa said : “In choosing to accept this settlement, I am able to put the legal aspects of my mother’s death behind me and ensure that those culpable for her death have accepted responsibility for their actions quickly and without equivocation.”

Melissa Rivers sought unspecified damages.

“In accepting this settlement, I am able to put the legal aspects of my mother’s death behind me and ensure that those culpable for her death have accepted responsibility for their actions quickly and without equivocation, ” she told ABC News. “Moving forward, my focus will be to ensure that no one ever has to go through what my mother, Cooper and I went through and I will work towards ensuring higher safety standards in out-patient surgical clinics. I want to express my personal gratitude to my legal team for their wise counsel and prompt resolution of this case.”

The lawsuit also named, among others, former Yorkville Endoscopy medical director Dr. Lawrence Cohen, anesthesiologist Robert Koniuta and

Melissa Rivers claimed that Cohen allowed Korovin into the room, though she “should not have been permitted.”

The lawsuit named, among others, Dr. Gwen Korovin, Rivers’ personal ear, nose and throat doctor who allegedly was not authorized to be in the room at that time.

According to the lawsuit, Korovin said, “I’ll go first, ” and then performed an unauthorized transnasal laryngoscopy, and that Dr. Lawrence Cohen, former Yorkville Endoscopy medical director, ignored questions raised by the anesthesiologist about the propriety of the procedure.

Court documents indicated that after the laryngoscopy was complete, Cohen began the endoscopy, but by then, Joan Rivers’ blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels had dropped significantly, though nobody took notice.

According to the lawsuit, Cohen took unauthorized cell phone photos of Rivers, saying that the comedian would “like to see these in the recovery area.”

At that point, the lawsuit stated, doctors took note of her deteriorating vital signs, and attempted to revive her. It took them 10 minutes to realize that what they were doing wouldn’t work because of her obstructed airway, inside Halton report.

When they realized that an emergency procedure called a cricothyrotomy was required, Korovin, the only person there who knew how to do it, had “left the procedure room.”

Yorkville Endoscopy told ABC News in a statement, “Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the Rivers family. Today, the parties agreed to settle this case to avoid protracted litigation.  We remain committed to providing quality, compassionate healthcare services that meet the needs of our patients, their families and the community.”

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