Stephen Lovekin/NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment(NEW YORK) — Melissa Rivers on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Manhattan clinic where her mother Joan Rivers went into cardiac arrest last year.
In a statement, Melissa Rivers called the decision “one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make.” The suit names Yorkville Endoscopy, its former Medical Director Dr. Lawrence Cohen, anesthesiologist Robert Koniuta and Joan Rivers’ personal ENT Dr. Gwen Korovin.
Melissa Rivers alleges that her mother authorized the clinic to perform an upper endoscopy on August 28, and that Dr. Cohen allowed Dr. Korovin to be in the procedure room despite the fact that she “should not have been permitted.” Korovin then allegedly performed an unauthorized transnasal laryngoscopy on Rivers. The suit claims that Dr. Cohen began the endoscopy after the unauthorized procedure, but at that point, Rivers’ vital signs were deteriorating.
Korovin, the lawsuit notes, “had no right to perform any medical procedures or render any medical services” at Yorkville Endoscopy.
The lawsuit further notes that Cohen used his cell phone to take photos of Rivers while she was under sedation and while her vital signs were dropping. That action, the suit claims, was also unauthorized and was not objected to by any individual in the room.
When the doctors became aware of her dropping vital signs, the lawsuit alleges, they attempted to revive her with an ambulatory bag, taking ten minutes before determining that that wouldn’t work due to Rivers’ obstructed airway. At that point, the doctors realized an emergency procedure called a cricothyrotomy was required, but Korovin, the only one who knew how to perform the procedure, had left the procedure room.
Korovin, the lawsuit says, “abandoned her patient, Joan Rivers.”
The clinic released a statement on Monday saying that it was aware of the filing, but that “it is not appropriate to comment publicly.” The clinic say it is continuing to “work with regulatory agencies to ensure compliance with all laws and regulations.”
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