According to the lawsuit, doctors ignored the concerns of the acting anesthesiologist, who urged caution after noticing “incredible edema,” or swelling, in Rivers’ throat. Anesthesiologist Renuka Bankulla suggested taking an internal picture to gauge how bad the swelling was. “You’re being paranoid…You’re such a curious cat. You always need to see everything,” the lead doctor, Lawrence B. Cohen, told her, before proceeding over her objections, the suit said.
Above: Joan Rivers
The Daily News reports:
…During the procedures, doctors ignored the concerns of the acting anesthesiologist, who urged caution after noticing “incredible edema,” or swelling, in Rivers’ throat.
Anesthesiologist Renuka Bankulla suggested taking an internal picture to gauge how bad the swelling was, the suit said.
“You’re being paranoid ... You’re such a curious cat. You always need to see everything,” the lead doctor, Lawrence B. Cohen, told her, before proceeding over her objections, the suit said.
Rivers left the clinic in a coma and died seven days later. Her only child, Melissa, 47, filed the lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court Monday, naming The lawsuit named the clinic, Yorkville Endoscopy, Frontier Healthcare, the company with partial ownership of the clinic that was responible for credentialing the doctors, Rivers’ personal physician Gail Korovin and anesthesiologists Renuka Bankulla, Robert Koniuta and Suzanne Scarola as defendants.
Instead of stopping the laryngoscopy midway to stabilize her when her vital signs showed signs of distress, the doctors continued with the procedure and she went into cardiac arrest.
The complaint alleges that for 20 minutes while doctors tried to revive her, nobody performed a trachetomy to open up her airways
“Had the doctors acted as physicians for Joan Rivers instead of groupies, Joan Rivers would have been doing ‘Fashion Police’ last week,” said one family lawyer Jeffrey Bloom, of Gair Gair, Conason, Steigman McKauf, Bloom and Rabinowitz.…
Investigators discovered that the clinic's medical director, Lawrence Cohen, allowed River's private doctor, celebrity ear-nose-and-throat specialist GwenKorovin, to do the unauthorized biopsywindpipe examination even though Korovin wasn't cleared to work at the clinic.
Bankulla objected when Korovin entered the room for the procedure, but was overruled by Cohen.
Korovin started things off by trying to insert a scope into the sedated Rivers’ nose to take pictures of her throat, but pulled out, saying she couldn’t get a clear view, the suit said.
Cohen then proceeded with the routine endoscopy — at which point Rivers’ blood pressure, heart rate, pulse level and oxygen level all dropped. The cardon dioxide levels in her blood went up, the suit said.
At some point between 9:26 a.m. and 9:47 a.m., Korovin said she was going in again, according to court papers.…
That’s when Bankulla tried again to intervene — citing Rivers’ badly swollen throat — and was dismissed.
As Korovin began inserting the scope for a second time, Cohen started taking cell phone pictures of the celebrity doctor at work, the lawsuit alleged.
Rivers’ oxygen levels and heart rate sank — signs of a likely airway obstruction, the suit said.
As the team realized the seriousness of the problem, they called a Code Blue — but never administered a muscle relaxant that might have unlocked the muscle in Rivers’ throat, nor did they cut into her windpipe to let air into her body.
Instead, Cohen did frantic chest compressions; Bankulla tried but failed to intubate Rivers, and two other anesthesiologists, Koniuta and Scarola, rushed in to help with the hand pump to push air into her lungs.
They worked for 17 minutes before Bankulla called for a tracheotomy kit — but it was never used.
When Bankulla looked for Korovin, who could have done the emergency tracheotomy, she was nowhere to be found. Rivers’ doctor had left the room, the suit said.
By the time EMS got Rivers to Mt. Sinai Hospital, she had already suffered irreversible brain damage, the suit said.
They also learned that he took a picture of Korovin with her heavily anesthesized patient in the operating room and that the anesthesiologist, Renuka Reddy Bankulla, appeared to have given Rivers more Propofol as her vital signs were slipping.
Propofol is a sedative known for having contributed to the death of entertainer Michael Jackson and not used when patients are already having trouble breathing.
Bankulla reportedly told investigators that the medical charts were wrong and the dosage numbers were double what she actually gave Rivers at the start of the procedure.…
There's a lot more in the report. Read it all here.