Yorkville Endoscopy, the Manhattan clinic where comedian Joan Rivers was being treated a week prior to her death, denied claims Wednesday that an unplanned biopsy at the facility cut off her air supply and contributed to her demise. Rivers died at the age of 81 on Sept. 4 after spending nearly a week on life support at Mount Sinai Hospital.
The clinic refuted a report from New York Daily News and claimed that it had never administered general anesthesia or conducted a vocal-cord biopsy on patients at its facility. The New York State Health Department is investigating the cause of Rivers’ death, and has focused attention on Yorkville Endoscopy, according to state health officials. Rivers went into a cardiac arrest during a nonsurgical procedure at the clinic, following which she was rushed to nearby Mount Sinai on Aug. 28.
"A biopsy of the vocal cords has never been performed at Yorkville Endoscopy," the clinic reportedly said in a statement. "General anesthesia has never been administered.
"Our anesthesiologists monitor the patient continuously utilizing state-of-the-art monitoring equipment, and remain at the bedside throughout the procedure and into recovery," it said.
The Daily News said in its report, citing a source, that an unplanned biopsy on Rivers' vocal cords by a doctor who accompanied her to the clinic led to the “Fashion Police” star’s death.
“A biopsy like that should only be done in a hospital setting,” the source told the Daily News. “If she had been in a hospital when it happened, she might have been okay,” the source added.
According to the Daily News report, Yorkville, which specializes in gastrointestinal procedures, allowed the doctor, who identified himself as an ear, nose and throat specialist, to use its equipment after they noticed “something” on Rivers’ vocal cords, who had only reportedly signed in for an endoscopy to “see why her voice had gotten raspy.”
The clinic also reportedly addressed criticisms that Rivers should have been treated in a hospital.
"Yorkville Endoscopy has strict policies in place for the criteria of who gets treated in this center versus in a hospital," the clinic said in the statement, according to CNN. "Every patient is pre-screened by their gastroenterologist, an anesthesiologist and a nurse for appropriateness to be treated at Yorkville Endoscopy. Some patients are also pre-screened by their personal physicians."