Joan Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, filed a malpractice lawsuit on Monday against a New York medical clinic and its doctors for allegedly carrying out unauthorized medical procedures that led to the “Fashion Police” star’s death. Rivers died at the age of 81 on Sept. 4, after spending nearly a week on life support at Mount Sinai Hospital.
The lawsuit was filed against Manhattan's Yorkville Endoscopy clinic where Rivers underwent a throat procedure on Aug. 28 during which she went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to Mount Sinai. The lawsuit alleges that the doctors at the clinic were not adequately trained and failed to detect "vital signs" as Rivers’ condition deteriorated during the procedure. The lawsuit also claims that the clinic allowed a doctor -- who was not authorized to be present -- to conduct a procedure that Rivers had not consented to.
"The level of medical mismanagement, incompetency, disrespect and outrageous behavior is shocking and frankly, almost incomprehensible,” Melissa reportedly said, in a statement.
Lawyers representing Rivers’ estate reportedly said that they are suing the clinic for damages and also added that the family wants to "make certain that the many medical deficiencies that led to Joan Rivers' death are never repeated by any outpatient surgery center."
The lawsuit filed in Manhattan State Supreme Court also claimed that some doctors were busy clicking selfies with Rivers during the procedure, due to which they "missed the moment her vital signs plummeted" and "ignored pleas from the anesthesiologist to halt the procedure."
The New York City medical examiner said in a report on Oct. 16 that Rivers died from brain damage due to lack of oxygen. Her death was classified as a “therapeutic complication” by the medical examiner, meaning it was the result of a predictable complication of a medical procedure.
As Rivers' condition became critical, the physician who conducted the unauthorized laryngoscopy left the room as she "wanted to avoid getting caught," the complaint alleged, according to Reuters.
"The conduct is unfortunately outrageous," Ben Rubinowitz, one of the lawyers representing the estate said, according to USA Today. "Not only is there medical mismanagement but you have a situation where doctors are taking photos of a patient when she needed assistance. They didn't recognize the fact that she wasn't getting sufficient oxygen."