Joan Rivers' Daughter Files Lawsuit Against Clinic, Doctors Allegedly Involved in Her Mother's Surgery

by Raphael Chestang 3:06 PM PST, January 26, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

Joan Rivers' daughter Melissa has filed a lawsuit against the Yorkville Endoscopy clinic and doctors who were allegedly involved with her mother's surgery last August, ET has learned.

NEWS: Joan Rivers Dead at 81

The legendary comedienne underwent a routine endoscopy last summer reportedly to evaluate changes in her voice and to deal with acid reflux. She was reportedly placed in a medically induced coma after going into cardiac arrest and passed away a week later at the age of 81.

According to The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner's (OCME) investigation, the cause of Rivers' death was anoxic encephalopathy (brain damage) due to hypoxic arrest (a decrease in oxygen to the brain) during surgery -- a laryngoscopy and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.

Rivers' death was classified as a "therapeutic complication," which means that the death officially resulted from a predictable complication of medical therapy.

NEWS: Joan Rivers' Autopsy Results Released

ET confirmed in November that Melissa was planning to sue the clinic.

Today, Melissa's attorneys released a statement to ET, saying, "We take our obligation seriously to properly and thoroughly investigate any case before we ever bring a lawsuit. With this in mind, we have fully investigated the facts underlying the deaths of Joan Rivers. To put it mildly, we are not just disappointed by the acts and omissions leading to the death of Joan Rivers, but we are outraged by the lack of care and concern for Ms. Rivers on the part of her treating physicians and the endoscopy center where the treatment was rendered. In filing this lawsuit on behalf of Melissa and [her son] Cooper we have two goals: first, to ensure that they receive the justice they deserve and second, to make certain that the many medical deficiencies that lead to Joan Rivers' death are never repeated by any outpatient surgery center."

The clinic also released a statement to ET, saying, "We are aware that a lawsuit was filed, but it is not appropriate to comment publicly regarding the lawsuit. The Rivers family has, as it has always had, our deepest sympathies and condolences. The 51 physicians, nurses and staff who currently work at Yorkville remain firmly committed to providing the highest quality of care to their patients, and we are continuing to work with regulatory agencies to ensure compliance with all laws and regulations.