Joan Rivers’ Doctors “Failed to Provide Timely Intervention” in Procedure That Led to Her Death, Investigators Say

Joan Rivers
A report from the Department of Health and Human Services states that Joan Rivers' doctors failed to "provide timely intervention" in her death Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Joan Rivers' doctors did not follow protocol during the procedure that led to her death at age 81 — this, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services, which reviewed the circumstances of the comedy legend's passing and released its findings on Monday, Nov. 10.

According to local ABC news affiliate WABC-TV, the agency's report states that "physicians in charge of the care of the patient failed to identify deteriorating vital signs and provide timely intervention during the procedure." Among other things, the report alleges, staff at the Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic "improperly" recorded the use and administering of propofol.

The report further states, per WABC, that an employee took pictures of Rivers while she was sedated and, moreover, that an unauthorized ENT surgeon, Dr. Gwen Korovin, was allowed to perform a procedure that Rivers had not consented to. Yorkville did not have "an effective process in place to assure that only credentialed physicians can perform procedures," investigators note. 

WABC-TV reports that Yorkville Endoscopy is in danger of losing its certification and its federal Medicare and Medicaid funding on Jan. 7, unless it addresses the deficiencies named by investigators.

Yorkville, for its part, released a statement to ABC News saying that it had submitted a "corrective plan of action" to the appropriate agencies, and that the physicians involved in Rivers' treatment are no longer practicing at the clinic. "Yorkville will continue its commitment to complying with all standards and accreditation requirements," the statement said.

Rivers' daughter, Melissa Rivers, also released a statement about the findings on Monday afternoon, via the lawyers she hired to investigate her mother's death.

"Our client, Melissa Rivers, is terribly disappointed to learn of the multiple failings on the part of medical personnel and the clinic as evidenced by the CMS report," her attorney told Us Weekly in the statement. "As any of us would be, Ms. Rivers is outraged by the misconduct and mismanagement now shown to have occurred before, during, and after the procedure. Moving forward, Ms. RIvers will direct her efforts towards ensuring that what happened to her mother will not occur again with any other patient."

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