The case for medical malpractice in the death of Joan Rivers

There has been much speculation as to what may have led to the death of Joan Rivers, the well-known and outspoken comic. She apparently sought a medical procedure at a private clinic and died days later after doctors at the hospital placed her in a medically induced coma from which she never fully recovered. There may be a cause of action for medical malpractice, and fans across Tennessee and elsewhere may be interested in what follows.

One of the most surprising facts that have come out of the investigation thus far is that the physician performing a routine endoscopy is said to have admitted to taking a “selfie” just moments before the comedian suffered a medical emergency. One question is exactly what was occurring in the moments immediately before the stolen photo opportunity? It is doubtful that the reportedly image-conscious woman would have consented to have a photo taken under those circumstances.

Moreover, the doctor apparently took a biopsy during the scope. According to reports, the doctor was not qualified to perform such a procedure at that facility. The biopsy was apparently not a planned procedure and could possibly indicate that the doctor was acting beyond the scope of the patient’s consent.

While it is within the prerogative of Mrs. River’s family members to decide whether to pursue medical malpractice, some believe there is evidence to support such a decision. The doctor’s motives and decisions may all be called into question in light of the details that have been released since the woman’s passing. There have been similar cases that also resulted in criminal charges when a doctor’s actions have been determined to have been criminally negligent, such as happened in the wrongful death case against a physician who was treating Michael Jackson. While the successful litigation of these types of civil cases typically results in an award of monetary damages, they may also serve as a warning to doctors to provide exemplary care regardless of who their patient happens to be, whether here in Tennessee or the Hollywood Hills.