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Did Joan Rivers Die From a Medical Error?

The death of Joan Rivers shocked many Americans, including many Missouri residents. The comedian and host of “Fashion Police” died at the age of 81. Recently, however, it has been claimed that Rivers’ death was a result of medical professional negligence.

There is also speculation that Joan Rivers’ death is an example of a medical malpractice case. According to a report released by a federal investigation, the clinic that provided treatment for the comedian in August failed to notice that her vital signs were deteriorating for at least 15 minutes. This condition reportedly occurred before Rivers went into cardiac arrest. The host died several days later.

The report also states that the physician failed to provide timely intervention while they were performing a medical procedure on her. Investigators also found that the anesthesiologist at the clinic altered the medical records in order to show that the celebrity received 120 milligrams of Propofol. The investigators also claimed that another doctor took photos of Rivers and another individual while she was lying on the operating table unconscious from the anesthesia. Rivers died as a result of brain damage due to a lack of oxygen during a routine procedure to examine her throat. The federal investigators also revealed that the clinic was previously subject to irregularities and numerous violations during the procedure performed on Rivers.

A routine procedure may not be a big deal compared with other major surgeries, but nevertheless, doctors should always be mindful of a patient’s safety, whether they are providing a diagnosis or extensive medical treatment. Any mistakes can be deadly.

Source: NY Times, “Joan Rivers’ Treatment Had Numerous Violations, U.S. Inquiry Finds“, Anemona Hartocollis, Nov. 10, 2014