Shalom Life | November 21, 2014

Melissa Rivers Is Outraged Over Findings From Investigation Into Joan's Death

A federal investigation outlined a number of mistakes made while Rivers was in the clinic's care.

By: Sara Torvik

Published: November 12th, 2014 in Culture » Society » News

Melissa Rivers Is Outraged Over Findings From Investigation Into Joan's Death

Melissa Rivers, daughter of the late comedian, Joan Rivers, said she was “outraged” this past Tuesday when it was found out after a federal investigation that a number of mistakes were made before and after Rivers routine surgery procedure that ended up leading to her death back in September.

An investigation by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) showed that the facility where Rivers surgery was being performed, Yorkville Endoscopy clinic in New York City’s Upper East Side, failed to respond to the comedian’s waning vital signs, failed to record her weight before sedating her, performed procedures to which she did not consent and allowed a staff member to photograph Rivers while she was anaesthetized. All of these things are violations of federal regulations and the clinic’s own bylaws.

Rivers was not actually referred to by name in the report but all of the findings match perfectly with the date she went into the facility, her age, and the unique circumstances surrounding her death.

The report states that Rivers arrived at the facility around 9am with her personal ear, nose and throat doctor. The doctor, it says, did not have clinical privileges at the facility, and many staff members, including the vice-president of clinical operations, had never met her.

Following those details the report goes on to say that Rivers’ vital signs began to deteriorate after the procedure started, around 9am on 28 August. During the first 14 minutes of the procedure Rivers’ blood pressure dropped from 117/60 to 84/40 and her blood oxygen saturation level dipped to 92%, 3% below the low end of normal. And over the next four minutes it is reported that Rivers had no pulse.

The details become unclear after that point, with conflicting reports about whether physicians attempted to revive her about two minutes later, at 9.28am, or whether it took another 10 minutes to give Rivers doses of drugs meant to treat cardiac arrest, Epinephrine and Atropine.

Another key factor that investigators found is that the physicians failed to obtain “informed consent” from Rivers. A procedure in which a thin scope with a camera is inserted through the oesophagus was authorized by the comedian. However, second procedure, in which a scope is inserted through the nose, was also performed, but there was no record indicating Rivers consented to it.

Yorkville Endoscopy has until January 7th to correct deficiencies found in the report, or lose Medicare accreditation provided through the Department of Health and Human Services. The clinic has stated for the record that the physicians who were involved in the procedure no longer practice at the clinic.

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