The clinic where Joan Rivers died at ,after going into cardiac arrest back in August, is being cited for multiple violations based on a new report that was released on Monday. After Rivers’ death in September an investigation was launched by the New York State Department of Health. That initial investigation determined that there were four major lapses at Yorkville Endoscopy which are required in order to be accredited. The lapses were found to be in surgical services, governing body and management, medical staff and patient rights.
Rivers’ went to the Yorkville Endoscopy clinic for a colonoscopy as well as a laryngoscopy. A number of violations have come to light following the comedians untimely death and the ensuing investigations. A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and prepared by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, indicates that the clinic had not documented properly how much of the sedative propofol was administered. The report also states that the clinic was unsuccessful in identifying the signs of Rivers’ deteriorating vital signs which led to them not providing intervention in a timely fashion.
Health officials investigating the clinic have noted a number of other mistakes that all contributed to the poor handling of care. These mistakes include no weigh-in prior to the procedure, which is critical when administering a sedative such as propofol, a lack of signed consent for the laryngoscopy, and the fact that the comedian’s personal physician who did the laryngoscopy did not have medical privileges at the clinic. Another violation which the clinic where Rivers’ went into cardiac arrest is being cited for includes taking a picture with a cell phone of the comedian during the procedure while she was sedated.
Although regulatory agencies are reviewing plans made to correct the violations at the clinic, Melissa Rivers has retained attorneys in order to investigate the clinic as well as the cause of her mother’s death. While the medical examiner did rule that the cause of death was brain damage resulting from the heart stopping during the procedure, it is unclear if this could have been prevented. The attorneys for Rivers’ say that going forward the family is hoping to prevent this from happening to another family.
As the family prepares to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the clinic, attorneys for the family have issued a statement expressing their sense of outrage over how care was handled before, during and after the procedure. With unauthorized personnel allowed into the procedure room and a staff that failed to follow safety protocols, the clinic clearly shows a lack of regard for the patient’s health that was in their care. Since being given notice of their violations, Yorkville Endoscopy has submitted a plan to rectify the issues that have been raised.
Based on the cited violations at the clinic where Rivers’ went into cardiac arrest, Yorkville Endoscopy has until the beginning of January to fix the deficiencies noted by investigators. If the clinic is unable to rectify the problems, they will end up losing their certification. At this time, the clinic is still open and operating.
By Kimberley Spinney
Photo by Steve Rhodes – Flickr License