The surgeon who operated on Joan Rivers at the New York clinic is no longer operating. It is no currently clear whether Dr. Lawrence Cohen stepped down out of choice, but it seems like he was forced out. The clinic has not yet given a reason for the decision, and will not give any more information about the procedure carried out on the comedian legend.
Two weeks ago, Rivers attended Yorkville Endoscopy for a routine surgery on her vocal cords. Despite being 81-years-old, the private clinic agreed that the work could be completed there. However, she suffered a cardiac arrest and stopped breathing. Afterwards, she had to be rushed to the nearest emergency room, and was placed in a medical coma while on life support.
Despite attempts to bring her off the life support, her daughter Melissa made the agonizing decision to turn off the support. Rivers’ died on September 4, and now all eyes are on the clinic that performed the surgery.
A full investigation is taking place to find out how something like this could have happened. The clinic is thought to be working with the investigative officials, but is stating privacy laws to avoid sharing anything with the press.
However, a statement was released to confirm that the surgeon in charge of Rivers’ care is no longer operating. Dr. Cohen is also no longer serving as the medical director for Yorkville Endoscopy. It is believed that he allowed an unauthorized and unaffiliated practitioner to carry out the procedure on the comedian. Many believe that the announcement of the resignation has come from the investigation being carried out.
There is a chance that he will be allowed to return to work at a later date. The clinic only confirmed that he is not “currently” performing his tasks or acting at medical director. That suggests that it is just a precaution while the investigation is carried out. According to The New York Times, a women at Dr. Cohen’s home hung up after finding out reporters were calling, so the publication could not get a statement.
Rivers went for the vocal cord procedure due to a hoarse voice. Friends close to her stated that it was getting worse and she often complained of a sore throat. An anonymous source explained that Dr. Cohen looked into possible problems with her digestive system, while he asked an Ears, Nose and Throat (E.N.T) specialist to check her vocal cords. Acid reflux can cause problems with the vocal cords, and is a very common problem.
According to report, the E.N.T. specialist never went through the proper checks for his credentials. These checks are required by both federal and state law. Clinic staff believed that she was a makeup artist for the comedian, as she was originally brought in to observe.
There are still no confirmations why the 81-year-old stopped breathing. One suggestion is that she suffered from the Propofol—the anesthetic—used. The investigation continues to find the reason for her death. However, the surgeon involved in Rivers’ case is no longer operating and has stepped down as medical director for the time being.
By Alexandria Ingham
Photo credit: CC-3.0 David Shankbone