Melissa Rivers Suing Clinic for Joan Rivers’ Death

By Camille Rivera | 2 years ago
Melissa Rivers Suing Clinic for Joan Rivers’  Death

Melissa Rivers has teamed up with a legal powerhouse based in Manhattan. She will be filing a multimillion dollar lawsuit against Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic, where her mother, comedian Joan Rivers, slipped into a coma during routine throat surgery.

Rivers will be citing medical malpractice in the case that she is building with top legal firm Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman, Mackauf, Bloom & Rubinowitz. Doctors Lawrence Cohen and Gwen Korovin will also be named in the lawsuit.


Cohen performed the surgery on Rivers' mother, while Korovin did an examination during the procedure even though she was not affiliated with the clinic. It is still not known if a qualified anesthesiologist was present at the time of the comedian's surgery.

Dr. Cohen has stepped down as medical director of Yorkville Endoscopy and is no longer performing surgery. Dr. Korovin, however, is reportedly still treating patients.

“In order to fully determine all of the facts and  circumstances surrounding the death of Joan Rivers we confirm that our firm has been engaged by Melissa Rivers and her family,” the firm told ABC News in a statement.

Joan Rivers underwent throat surgery on Aug. 28, 2014. She was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center when she went into cardiac arrest. Despite repeated attempts to revive her, she went into a coma. Melissa Rivers decided to take her off of life support on Sept. 4, 2014. The comedienne passed away at age 81.

Medical examiners found that the cause of death was “anoxic encephalopathy due to hypoxic arrest,” or brain damage due to lack of oxygen. They also revealed that the comedienne had been sedated with Propofol. 

It is reported that Dr. Cohen performed an unplanned throat biopsy on Joan Rivers, even though the procedure is too risky to be done outside of a hospital setting and without the comedienne’s formal consent. Joan Rivers' vocal chords allegedly “slammed shut” during the surprise biopsy and cut off her breathing.

However, a representative for Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic said that they have never performed biopsies at the clinic.

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Photo source: Wikimedia Commons/David Shankbone