According to reports, as Joan Rivers laid dying on the operating table, her doctor delayed performing CPR. He continued to operate instead, and did not inform anyone to call 911 to take her to the hospital. These are fresh claims after many question just what happened at the private clinic.
Rivers passed away on September 4. She was going through a routine operating at a clinic in New York City just days before. However, the larynx and trachea procedure led to complications, and she stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest on the table. For 14 minutes, the doctor could see that her blood pressure and pulse were dropping, but he continued operating. Experts claim that she could have been saved had he followed the correct procedures when her vital signs showed a decline.
Yorkville Endoscopy has now been named as the clinic, and Dr. Lawrence Cohen was the doctor. He was the medical director of the clinic, but was joined by Dr. Gwen Korovin, a celebrity Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. Korovin spent 10 minutes attempting to revive the comedian before deciding that emergency services were required.
There have been many complaints over the way Rivers’ surgery was handled. Some believe that due to her age it should have all been completed at a hospital with a full crash kit. While she looked young, she was 81-years-old and any type of surgery was risky for her.
According to reports, Rivers’ doctor delayed CPR and by the time paramedics arrived it was too late to do anything. She had no heartbeat and was not breathing. A source told the New York Post that she also had cyanosis around her mouth and lips. This is when the lips start to turn blue because they are not receiving oxygen, and it takes several minutes for it to happen.
However, the EMTs were able to get the comedian’s heart restarted and get oxygen into her body. According to reports, there was brain damage though due to the lack of oxygen to the brain.
The source goes to the extent of blaming the doctor for continuing the procedure. As soon as she needed emergency care, Cohen should have stopped the procedure and performed an emergency tracheotomy. While there are no guarantees, it may have saved her life.
There were other mistakes noted once a full investigation was carried out. One of those was the use of Propofel while her vital signs dropped. A paramedic was shocked to hear that they sedated someone who was going into shock at the time.
Few of those involved in the botched procedure have spoken about it. Korovin was not authorized to perform any surgery at the clinic, so has not mentioned anything about her time there. She has worked on other celebrities, including Julie Andrews and Celine Dion.
Yorkville Endoscopy has been ordered to correct its deficiencies by the Department of Health and Human Services. The federal department blames the deficiencies and given it until January 7, 2015 to make the changes. It could lose its Medicare accreditation. All of this has been brought to light due to one doctor’s decision to delay CPR on Rivers, among other mistakes.
By Alexandria Ingham
Photo by David Shankbone