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Lawsuit over Joan Rivers' death finally settled

Joan Rivers' 2014 death saddened and confused not only the fashion world but also her many fans in New Jersey and across America. Soon after the comedian's death, questions concerning possible negligence during a medical procedure began to circulate. Melissa Rivers -- Joan Rivers' daughter -- then filed a medical malpractice suit for what she said was her mother's wrongful death. The suit was recently settled.

In September 2014, Rivers underwent a laryngoscopy at an outpatient clinic in a neighboring state. At some point during the procedure, she began to suffer from cardiac arrest. Rivers' daughter claimed that the attending physicians did not act appropriately when her mother's vital signs began to deteriorate. One of the doctors was even accused of taking a picture of himself with the unconscious Rivers during the procedure.

After going into cardiac arrest, Rivers was eventually transferred to a hospital, where she spent a week unconscious before she eventually passed away. An official investigation determined that her death had been caused by a severe decrease of oxygen to her brain. The decreased flow resulted in what proved to ultimately be permanent brain damage.

The facility that performed Rivers' laryngoscopy claimed that it settled in order to prevent ongoing litigation that did not necessarily have an end in sight. Although the clinic is still operating, it is possible that the successful settlement of this medical malpractice suit will strengthen safety procedures, thereby protecting other patients from similar outcomes. While a settlement is certainly no replacement for the death of a loved one, New Jersey families often find that creating a better future for all patients can be especially comforting.

Source:, "Medical Malpractice Lawsuit In The Death Of Joan Rivers Now Settles", Nens Mitchell, May 14, 2016

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Alan D. Bell
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