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article imageInquiry finds death of Joan Rivers due to mistakes made at clinic

By Marcus Hondro     Nov 12, 2014 in Entertainment
A U.S. federal investigation has found that the Manhattan clinic where Joan Rivers died during a routine medical procedure on her vocal cords made mistakes. The report was released on Monday.
Report on death of Joan Rivers
The report is from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and it cited numerous violations in the actions of the Yorkville Endoscopy clinic and its staff. Ms. Rivers, 81 when she died on September 4, never recovered from the procedure and the medical examiner listed her death as a result of brain damage due to a lack of oxygen.
"The physicians in charge of the care of the patient failed to identify deteriorating vital signs and provide timely intervention during the procedure,” the report said in part.
There is an issue with the amount of Propofol the anesthesiologist gave her (it was changed from 300 mg. to 120 mg. on documents filled out that day). It's unclear if Ms. Rivers received too much anesthesia as the anesthesiologist claims it was a recording error. The investigators also found her body weight was never recorded, a routine and necessary requirement that determines the amount of anesthesia to administer.
Dr. Lawrence Cohen, the then-medical director of the clinic who performed the procedure, who has since left the clinic, took photos of her as she lay unconscious after it was done, the investigators found. When he should have been attending to her "deteriorating vital signs" he was snapping photos because, he told those in attendance, she may want to see them later.
Another finding by the investigators was that Dr. Cohen brought in Dr. Gwen Korovin to take part in the procedure, the personal Ear, Nose and Throat doctor to Ms. Rivers, despite the fact that Dr. Korovin was not qualified to do so. Dr. Korovin, the report noted, was allowed to try and do a laryngoscopy but aborted it because she said she could not see in the throat of Ms. Rivers properly. There is no record that Ms. Rivers had agreed to Dr. Korovin taking part.
Melissa Rivers is "outraged"
Melissa Rivers, the daughter of Joan Rivers, has not herself made a public statement on the report. However, her lawyers issued a statement that said she is “outraged by the misconduct and mismanagement now shown to have occurred before, during and after the procedure” and will work to ensure that this does not again happen to a patient.
Yorkville Endoscopy has until Jan. 7 to make changes required in the report or face the loss of both Medicare and Medicaid funding. It must also pass a surprise inspection. The clinic has not responded to the report.
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