The death of actress and comedienne Joan Rivers on Sept 4 made headlines across the country. The beloved comedienne was having procedures done at Yorkville Endoscopy, which is located in New York. The procedures were intended to treat acid reflux and voice changes.
According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, there were several events that were not handled properly. These included taking cellphone pictures when Rivers was sedated, not correctly documenting how much of the sedative propofol was used during the procedure and failing “to identify deteriorating vital signs and provide timely intervention during the procedure.”
An investigation by the state’s health department was launched after Rivers’ death. There were problems found in four accreditation categories: surgical services, patient rights, governing body and management and medical staff.
The photos that were taken were allegedly of an ear, nose and throat surgeon who was not authorized to be in the room when she was under sedation. There was also no process in place that would have effectively ensured that only physicians with the right credentials could perform procedures. Also, not every procedure that was done had Rivers’ informed consent.
Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, has retained attorneys to investigate her mother’s death. At this time, the clinic is still open and accredited. However, the clinic’s certification will be lost unless on Jan. 7, 2015, if it does not correct the problems.
This case shows that medical malpractice can happen to wealthy, famous people as well as to us “regular” people. Should you or someone you love become a victim of medical negligence, an experienced attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Source: ABC News, “Clinic Where Joan Rivers Went Into Cardiac Arrest Cited for Multiple Violations” Aaron Katersky, Nov. 10, 2014