The world was shocked when a spry Joan Rivers suddenly passed away during a routine procedure in September.
Yes, the comedian was 81 years old at the time of her death, but by all accounts, she was in great health and still performing stand-up shows that required tons of energy, in addition to hosting her TV show, Fashion Police. Her passing was extremely traumatic for her daughter, Melissa Rivers, and now her death is serving as a wake-up call to everyone about professionals who we trust with our very lives on a regular basis.
There has been a ton of speculation about the culpability of the doctors and clinic where Rivers was undergoing minor throat surgery and, now, a federal report has been released detailing the scary truth about what happened, according to the New York Times. The findings, which were released on Monday, reveal that Rivers’ blood pressure and pulse rapidly declined for a full 15 minutes before her care providers noticed and began to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
“The physicians in charge of the care of the patient failed to identify deteriorating vital signs and provide timely intervention during the procedure,” said the report conducted by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The investigation also found that the horrifying selfie rumors were true and that the medical director of the clinic, Dr. Lawrence Cohen, took cell phone pictures of the physician performing the procedure, Gwen Korovin, while Rivers was on the operating table.
But the negligence doesn’t stop there. It was found that Rivers was mistakenly given twice the amount of the anesthetic, Propofol, that she was to be given, because a staff member made an error when putting the dosage in the computer. Furthermore, no record was found of anyone weighing Rivers, which is a standard procedure due to the fact that the sedative is usually administered based on the patient’s weight.
One of these mistakes would be considered a grave error, but that this compounded negligence took place during Rivers’ operation is downright terrifying.
Considering the fortune that Rivers’ left behind to her daughter and grandson, we are well aware that she had the means to obtain the best medical care this country has to offer. The fact that the supposed cream of the medical crop could be so grossly negligent is enough to make anyone question the medical profession as a whole.
A computer error? Cell phones in the operating room? Not monitoring vital signs while an 81-year-old woman is under the knife? This all sounds like etiquette any doctor or nurse should be executing properly in their sleep.
A statement released by Melissa Rivers’ lawyer, Ben Rubinowitz, on Monday, said Melissa is “outraged by the misconduct and mismanagement.” The attorney added, “Ms. Rivers will be directing her efforts towards ensuring what happened to her mother will not occur again with any other patient.”
Let’s hope that by shedding some light on what happened, Melissa Rivers can save other people’s lives and bring some justice for her mother’s death.