Federal Probe Finds Medical Errors in Treatment of Joan Rivers

A federal investigation concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of Joan Rivers found that there were numerous errors and failures in her treatment. Rivers, who had gone to the clinic complaining of a hoarse voice, never regained consciousness after the procedures at the New York clinic. According to the report, Rivers’ treating physicians didn’t notice that her vital signs had deteriorated 15 minutes prior to her fateful cardiac arrest. “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, issued by investigators for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Additionally, the NY Times reports, “The investigation found that the anesthesiologist at the clinic, Yorkville Endoscopy, later changed the medical record to say that Ms. Rivers received 120 milligrams of Propofol, an anesthetic with a small window between sedation and respiratory arrest. The anesthesiologist, who was not named, said the initial entry, 300 milligrams, was a mistake created by double-clicking on the automated entry system.” Ms. Rivers was not weighed prior to the administration of anesthesia which is normally performed in order to determine the correct amount of anesthesia to be administered. The clinic faces termination of federal funding for Medicare and Medicaid if it does not correct these errors by January 7, 2015 as well as pass a surprise inspection.