It's been over a year and a half since Joan Rivers passed away following a botched medical procedure, and now, her family has reached a settlement with the clinic and doctors that it blamed for her death. The specific amount has not been disclosed, but lawyers for the Rivers family called the settlement "substantial," and TMZ reports that it's in the millions.
Melissa Rivers sued Yorkville Endoscopy in January of 2015, following her mother's death on September 4th, 2014. In that lawsuit, she alleged that the clinic allowed Dr. Gwen Korovin, Rivers’s personal ENT, to be in the procedure room and perform a transnasal laryngoscopy on Rivers, despite the fact that she wasn't authorized to practice medicine at the clinic. Rivers had agreed to undergo an upper endoscopy performed by Dr. Lawrence Cohen, who was the director of the clinic at the time. Shortly following Rivers's death, Cohen stepped down as medical director.
That was just one of the malpractice instances of which Rivers's family accused the clinic and doctors involved in her death: Korovin and Cohen allegedly took photos of Rivers while she was under sedation, despite the fact that Rivers had never consented to having her picture taken. An investigation by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also found that the clinic failed to keep proper medical records, get informed consent for every procedure performed, or record Rivers's weight before sedating her.
When the anesthesiologist, Dr. Renuka Bankulla, pointed out that Rivers's vocal cords appeared swollen and at risk of seizing, Cohen allegedly dismissed her concerns. By the time it became clear that Rivers was suffering from a laryngospasm, Korovin—who, despite not being authorized to be there, was the only doctor present who could perform the emergency procedure necessary—had already left the clinic. By the time 911 was called, Rivers had gone into cardiac arrest.
Rivers was placed in a medically-induced coma following her heart attack. A week later, she was taken off life support and passed away.
In a statement, Yorkville Endoscopy said that "our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the Rivers family...We remain committed to providing quality, compassionate healthcare services that meet the needs of our patients, their families and the community."
Melissa Rivers said that, this settlement with Yorkville Endoscopy will allow her to "put the legal aspects of my mother's death behind me and ensure that those culpable for her death have accepted responsibility for their actions quickly and without equivocation...Moving forward, my focus will be to ensure that no one ever has to go through what my mother, (my son) Cooper and I went through and I will work towards ensuring higher safety standards in out-patient surgical clinics."