Tags: joan rivers | biopsy | death | details

Joan Rivers' Death Details: Unscheduled Biopsy Cut Off Air Supply

Image: Joan Rivers' Death Details: Unscheduled Biopsy Cut Off Air Supply
(Molly Riley/Reuters/Landov, file)

By    |   Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014 08:49 AM

Joan Rivers' routine endoscopy at an outpatient clinic in Manhattan turned deadly when an outside doctor who arrived with the star's entourage performed an unscheduled biopsy, causing her vocal chords to seize, cut off her air supply, and send her into cardiac arrest.

The New York Daily News reported exclusively that a medical source who was briefed on the investigation into the comedian's death said it all could have been avoided.

"A biopsy like that should only be done in a hospital setting," the source said. "If she had been in a hospital when it happened, she might have been okay."

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Apparently, the medical technicians at Yorkville Endoscopy allowed the unaffiliated doctor, who identified himself as an ear, nose, and throat specialist, to do an impromptu biopsy — a surgical tissue removal — after the clinicians noticed "something" on Rivers vocal chords. While attempting to do the biopsy, disaster stuck.

"He asked and they let him," said the source. "A huge no-no."

According to the source, whose claims remained unconfirmed after inquiries to the clinic due to patient confidentiality laws, Rivers had only agreed to the endoscopy — and never signed off on a biopsy.

According to The New York Times, which spoke with 911 responders, emergency teams were dispatched when Rivers went into cardiac arrest. She had been hooked up to a defibrillator and a breathing tube had been inserted into her windpipe by clinic staff by the time the emergency team arrived. Medications and CPR were also used in an attempt to revive her, and firefighters took over CPR from the staff.

Rivers, 81, underwent the routine procedure on August 28, was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital that same day, and died on September 4 when she was removed from life-support. The State Health Department is investigating the cause of death.

A spokesperson from the clinic noted that, "Yorkville Endoscopy has performed 18,000 procedures since it opened in February 2013. Yorkville Endoscopy has maintained an exceptional safety record that far exceeds the national average."

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Joan Rivers' routine endoscopy at an outpatient clinic in Manhattan turned deadly when an outside doctor who arrived with the star's entourage performed an unscheduled biopsy, causing her vocal chords to seize and cut off her air supply.
joan rivers, biopsy, death, details
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2014-49-10
Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014 08:49 AM
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