Family considers wrongful death suit after multiple problems found at clinic
The sudden death of Joan Rivers in September shocked the public, but it was later revelations that the death might have been preventable that have led to a great deal anger and confusion for her fans and family. A recent investigation of the Manhattan clinic where Ms. Rivers went into cardiac arrest has cited the clinic for multiple violations, according to ABC News. Ms. Rivers' family is now considering whether to file a wrongful death lawsuit in light of the investigation. Ms. Rivers went into cardiac arrest at the clinic following complications during a minor vocal cord procedure and died in hospital a week later.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, issued a report based on the work of New York state investigators. The report found that the endoscopy clinic violated a number of procedures and protocols, including failing to properly document how much sedative was used and failing to identify deteriorating vital signs in the patient.
The former medical director of the clinic was also accused of allowing Ms. Rivers' ear, nose and throat doctor to perform a biopsy on the patient despite not being a medical staff member at the facility. It is also not clear whether Ms. Rivers was aware that the doctor was in the room nor was it clear whether she had given her consent for the biopsy to be performed.
The behavior of the medical staff at the clinic was also called into question by the report. One of the doctors took a cellphone picture of the sedated Ms. Rivers with her ear, nose and throat doctor. Finally, questions were raised whether the clinic had the necessary medical equipment on hand to perform and monitor the procedure that was performed on Ms. Rivers.
Ms. Rivers' daughter, Melissa, is reportedly "outraged" by the revelations brought forth by the report. According to CBS New York, she is still considering whether to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the clinic.
Patients and their families trust that doctors and medical staff will always endeavor to provide the best care and treatment possible. However, as the above story shows, sometimes a patient may not get the treatment they deserve and tragic consequences can result.
Suffering the loss of a loved one is painful enough, but when it is discovered that the loved one's death may have been caused by a medical staff member's negligence or misconduct then surviving family members are likely to feel angry and confused. Although no amount of legal action can make up for the hole left behind by a loved one's death, talking to a medical malpractice attorney could be an important first step in making sure other families do not suffer a similar fate because of a doctor or staff member's misconduct.