Melissa Rivers to File Malpractice Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Laura Woods | November 10th, 2014

Courtroom Justice

Melissa Rivers, daughter of the late comedian Joan Rivers, is preparing to file a malpractice wrongful death lawsuit against her mother’s medical team in NYC. She has been largely left in the dark as to the exact cause of her mother’s untimely death and is seeking answers. Currently, her legal team is waiting to obtain her medical records before filing the case in Manhattan Supreme Court.

It is expected the legal team will charge the Yorkville Endoscopy clinic and each of Joan’s doctors with not adequately monitoring her Propofol levels. Ironically, Propofol is the same drug that killed iconic pop star, Michael Jackson.

The named cause of Joan’s death is “anoxic encephalopathy due to hypoxic arrest during laryngoscopy and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with propofol sedation.”

Pretrial proceedings underway

According to reports, Melissa’s law firm has sent letters to the clinic where the surgery was performed, ordering them to save the records and phone logs surrounding the Joan’s treatment.

The process to obtain Joan’s medical records could be a lengthy one, as Melissa has to file in probate court to open an estate for her mother. This permits the court to name an executor of the estate ─ most likely Melissa ─ who will be granted the power to obtain the medical records. The complex process is the result of state confidentiality and HIPAA laws protecting patients’ rights.

While many people assume that anyone granted power of attorney can have access to medical records, this is not the case. The authority provided by a power of attorney document ends when the patient dies. A probate proceeding is the only way for Melissa to gain access to the medical records, which will unfortunately open at least some of the information to the public.

Cause of death suspicious

There are many questions surrounding Joan’s death that have yet to be answered. The New York City Medical Examiner concluded that her cause of death was a “predictable complication” of the medical procedure.

Rather than providing answers for the family, this conclusion ultimately raised even more red flags. People are wondering why the clinic didn’t perform emergency medicine techniques and whether a procedure of this nature should have been completed in a hospital, since Joan Rivers was 81 years of age?

The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities dropped in on the clinic where the surgery was performed without warning and found deficits in the standard procedures of the clinic.

Malpractice wrongful death lawsuit

You put your trust in medical professionals to make you feel better ─ not worse. If you or a loved one has suffered malpractice at the hands of a medical professional, it’s important to defend your rights. Not only do you deserve justice for the errors, you may also have the power to stop the same thing from happening to another patient.

The NYC medical malpractice lawyers at The Sanders Firm are dedicated to defending the rights of patients who have suffered at the hands of a medical professional in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Long Island and Queens.

Contact us at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY (1-800-324-7752) for a completely free case assessment.