April 12, 2015
Doctors involved in the procedure resulting in Joan Rivers’ death have a lot to be worried about. Specifically, the Dept. of Health and Human Services found multiple errors in their investigation. The full report can be found here.
The CMS noted errors that could have contributed to Joan Rivers’ death included:
- failing to obtain informed consent
- failing to identify deteriorating vital signs and intervene in time
- failing to weigh the patient and correctly document the dose of propofol, the anesthetic used
- failing to ensure the physicians involved in her care were credentialed per the clinic’s bylaws
- allowing a photograph to be taken of Joan Rivers while she was under sedation (failing to abide by clinic policy)
The last error (photographing a sedated patient) is the most shocking of all– it’s hard to believe that trained professionals would act in such a way. What were they thinking? Posting on Facebook? Horrible. Joan Rivers was a national treasure, a brilliant comedienne and a true talent, who was lost on the fateful day she underwent an unplanned biopsy at the Yorkville Endoscopy Center. Dr. Renuka Bankulla (the anesthesiologist at the center of the lawsuit filed in response to Rivers’ death) has denied allegations that she failed to save Rivers as her vital signs deteriorated. According to reports, Dr. Lawrence Cohen (Rivers’ gastroenterologist) told Bankulla she was “a curious cat” when she expressed her concerns during the procedure. An article written by Dr. Karen Sibert “Anesthesiologist’s Review of the Facts in the Joan River’s Case” discusses the stressful work environment Dr.Bankulla and anesthesiogists face. In fact, according to TMZ, Dr. Lawrence Cohen believed anesthesiologists were a waste of money for throat procedures. Wow. Imagine working for someone who thinks you aren’t “cost-effective” and calls you paranoid. Paranoia may have been in order, however, due to a lack of informed consent– it wasn’t until after Rivers was sedated that Dr. Gwen Korovin allegedly performed a transnasal laryngoscopy, even though the patient had never agreed to the procedure and Korovin was not credentialed by the facility. Such details are difficult to comprehend. No matter what the legal outcome, Joan Rivers’ death has had a lasting impact on so many who enjoyed her warmth, humor and spirit. She was a star. She will always be missed.