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Joan Rivers’ Daughter Files Wrongful Death Suit Against Endoscopy Clinic

Written November 4, 2014

Earlier this year in September, legendary actress and comedienne Joan Rivers died after she slipped into a coma during a routine endoscopy procedure. According to a recent report by the New York Post, Melissa Rivers, Joan’s daughter, is now filing a wrongful death suit against the clinic that performed the procedure.

An endoscopy is a procedure where a small tube is inserted into the patient’s body, in this case through the mouth, to gain a visual picture of what is going inside a particular part of the body, in this case the throat. Generally speaking, endoscopies today are administered while the patient is under some kind of sedation.

In Joan Rivers’ case, she was given Propofol, which was the same drug that pop star Michael Jackson died from not too long ago. The official cause of Joan Rivers’ death was listed by the medical examiner as “anoxic encephalopathy due to hypoxic arrest during laryngoscopy and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with propofol sedation.” Essentially, Mrs. Rivers’ heart stopped bringing blood to her brain, eventually causing her death.

While the suit cannot yet proceed to trial because there are still matters involving the late comedienne’s will that need to be resolved, it is believed that the clinic and all attending doctors will be named in the suit.

Medical Malpractice Actions in New York

Whenever a doctor undertakes a procedure, it will naturally come with some risks. It is the doctor’s job to announce those risks to the patient and allow the patient to make the ultimate decision whether to proceed with the suggested course of treatment or procedure.

However, it is a common misunderstanding that just because a doctor discloses some risks to a patient the doctor cannot then be held liable when something does go wrong. In fact, there are many different reasons why a surgical procedure may result in injury or death, and some of them are due to physician error–or medical malpractice–rather than the normal attendant risk of surgery.

In these cases, the doctor performing the procedure as well as the hospital employing the doctor may be held liable for their actions, if the plaintiff can prove that they engaged in medical negligence. Determining whether a doctor’s conduct was “negligent” as a matter of law can be tricky, and it is best left to an experienced medical malpractice attorney. It often involves the testimony of medical experts and carefully crafted arguments.

Have You Been Injured by a Physician’s Negligence?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured because of the negligence of a doctor, nurse, or other hospital employee, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries or loss. However, be advised that almost all doctors carry malpractice insurance and will be prepared to fend off any lawsuit claiming that they were negligent. It is for this reason that it is suggested that you secure the assistance of a dedicated personal injury law firm that knows what it takes to bring home a favorable verdict for their clients. Call Duffy & Duffy today at (516) 394-4200 to set up a free initial consultation.

See Other Blog Posts:

New York Nursing Home Successfully Sued for $2 Million After Negligent Care Led to Stage-IV Bedsore, Long Island Injury Lawyers Blog, September 29, 2014.

“Special Knowledge” Jury Instruction Required Reversal of Verdict in Plaintiff’s Favor, Long Island Injury Lawyers Blog, September 29, 2014.

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