Melissa Rivers Settles Joan Rivers Medical Malpractice Suit: ‘Those Culpable for Her Death Have Accepted Responsibility’

Melissa Rivers and Joan Rivers attend 92nd Street Y on January 22, 2014 in New York City.
Melissa Rivers and Joan Rivers at the 92nd Street Y on January 22, 2014, in New York City. Noam Galai/WireImage

This matter can finally be laid to rest. Melissa Rivers reached a settlement in the multimillion-dollar lawsuit she filed against Yorkville Endoscopy regarding the 2014 death of her mother, Joan Rivers, her lawyers told Us Weekly in a statement on Thursday, May 12.

According to the statement, Melissa, 48, has finally gotten the retribution for which she fought so hard for her late mother in the suit that she filed in January 2015.

“In accepting this settlement, I am able to put the legal aspects of my mother’s death behind me and ensure that those culpable for her death have accepted responsibility for their actions quickly and without equivocation,” she said. “Moving forward, my focus will be to ensure that no one ever has to go through what my mother, [my son] Cooper and I went through and I will work towards ensuring higher safety standards in out-patient surgical clinics. I want to express my personal gratitude to my legal team for their wise counsel and prompt resolution of this case.”

In August 2014, 81-year-old Joan was scheduled to head into the out-patient clinic (located on the upper east side of Manhattan in New York City) to have a minor throat surgery to treat acid reflux.

Instead, she died several days later after the physicians handling her surgery — ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Gwen Korovin, anesthesiologist Dr. Renuka Bankulla and two other anesthesiologists — botched the job and handled the situation poorly.

According to extensive notes that Dr. Bankulla documented from the scene, Joan’s vocal cords swelled up and eventually closed, causing the iconic comedienne to stop breathing shortly afterward.

Dr. Korovin, the physician in charge of the procedure, left the clinic without attempting to save Joan’s life via an emergency cricothyrotomy, and 911 was called after several minutes had already lapsed — all elements that ultimately led to Joan’s death.

Melissa later filed a malpractice suit, telling Us Weekly that she ultimately decided to take action because of her “unwavering belief that no family should ever have to go through what my mother, Cooper and I have been through.”

In the statement Thursday, Melissa’s lawyers, Jeffrey Bloom and Ben Rubinowitz, acknowledged that while “no amount of money will compensate Melissa Rivers and her son Cooper for their loss,” they hoped the case would help “ensure that appropriate safeguards and higher safety standards are put into effect.”

“We have agreed to keep the terms of the settlement confidential to make certain that the focus of this horrific incident remains on improved patient care and the legacy of Joan Rivers,” the statement concludes.

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!