Back in 2014, actress and comedienne Joan Rivers died while undergoing a routine medical procedure in a New York clinic. The 81-year-old was suffering from some minor symptoms when she visited the defendant clinic for what was supposed to be a quick procedure. According to a recent New York Times article, the family of Rivers accepted a confidential settlement offer, and, as a result, the case against the doctors allegedly responsible for Rivers’ death will not go to trial.
Back in August 2014, Rivers visited Yorkville Endoscopy, complaining of a hoarse voice and a sore throat. The medical staff on duty suggested Rivers undergo a laryngoscopy and an endoscopy so that doctors could see what was causing her discomfort.
During the procedure, several doctors were present. One doctor in particular was concerned that Rivers’ vocal cords were extremely swollen and alerted senior doctors of her observation. Other doctors dismissed this doctor as “paranoid” and continued with the procedure. Fearful that she might be blamed for anything that went wrong during the procedure, that doctor then began taking copious notes that were later passed to the plaintiffs during the discovery phase of the case.
These notes outlined the procedure from beginning to end and detailed the efforts that the doctor made to save Rivers’ life. However, the senior doctor had already left the facility by the time the need arose, and Rivers slipped into cardiac arrest in the meantime. Soon afterward, Rivers died.
Rivers’ family filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the clinic as well as the individual doctors involved in the procedure. The claims against the doctors asserted that they were “star struck” and nervous during the procedure, and as a result they provided inadequate care to Rivers. After about a year of pre-trial litigation and discovery, a settlement agreement was reached among all parties. The details of the agreement have not yet been released and may never be known, since they are confidential. However, Rivers’ family reported that the award amount was “substantial.”
Rivers’ family told reporters that they hoped the settlement would encourage a higher level of care across the board.
Have You Been a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of what you believe to be medical malpractice, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The standard of care doctors owe their patients does not vary from patient to patient, and it requires that doctors perform at or above the acceptable level for the profession. When a doctor fails to live up to that standard, they may be held liable for the injuries caused as a result. Call the Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers to set up a free consultation at 410-654-3600. Calling is always free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you obtain compensation.
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Maryland Court Allows Lead-Based Paint Lawsuit to Proceed on Circumstantial Evidence of Causation, Maryland Accident Law Blog, April 15, 2016.
Doctors Must Obtain Informed Consent Before Performing Any Operation or Procedure, Maryland Accident Law Blog, May 9, 2016.