Settlement reached in Rivers' malpractice suit

NEW YORK • The family of Joan Rivers reached a settlement with the doctors and clinic it had sued for malpractice over the 81-year-old comedienne's death in 2014, lawyers for the family said on Thursday. The doctors accepted responsibility for her death, although the dollar amount of the settlement was not disclosed.

In 2015, Rivers' daughter Melissa filed a lawsuit in the state Supreme Court in Manhattan against Yorkville Endoscopy, a for-profit outpatient surgery center, where Rivers was undergoing a relatively routine procedure when she died.

The suit also named Dr Gwen Korovin, an ear, nose and throat specialist; Dr Renuka Bankulla, the main anaesthesiologist, two other anaesthesiologists; and Dr Lawrence Cohen, who stepped down as the clinic's medical director.

The suit outlined a series of egregious errors that, it said, led to the comedienne's death.

Rivers, who was known for her brassy wit and slashing style, went to Yorkville Endoscopy on Aug 28, 2014, complaining of a hoarse voice and sore throat.

She was to undergo a laryngoscopy, an examination of her voice box and vocal cords, and an endoscopy, which involves looking at her upper digestive system and is performed under anaesthesia, according to a report by the New York City medical examiner's office, which investigated the death.

According to the malpractice suit, the doctors were so eager to please that they violated protocols and Dr Cohen, at one point, pulled out his cellphone and took a photograph of Rivers lying on the operating table.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2016, with the headline 'Settlement reached in Rivers' malpractice suit'. Print Edition | Subscribe