Joan Rivers’ doctor, gastroenterologist Dr. Lawrence Cohen, did indeed snap selfies of an unconscious Joan during her throat surgery in August, according to records released by Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic. The selfie revelations were made public July 15 as part of Melissa Rivers’ multi-million-dollar wrongful death lawsuit.
Dr. Lawrence Cohen took photos of Rivers while she was sedated during vocal cord surgery at Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic, according to the clinic’s own records as well as reports from the medical examiners offers and a federal regulatory agency.
Cohen, who previously denied taking the selfies, refused to submit sworn testimony denying he took the photos during the August 2014 outpatient surgery Joan underwent, Headline News reported July 16.
In January 2015, Joan’s daughter, Melissa Rivers, filed a massive wrongful death lawsuit against Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic, Dr. Lawrence Cohen, Joan’s personal physician, Dr. Gwen Korovin, and anesthesiologist Renuka Bankulla, claiming negligence and medical malpractice led to Joan’s death during a routine procedure.
Dr. Bankulla, the anesthesiologist, noted in medical records that Cohen did take selfies with an unconscious Joan. “Despite Dr. Bankulla’s clear statement in the medical records that Dr. Cohen took a photograph of Joan Rivers while she was unconscious during the procedure, Dr. Cohen’s unverified response denies this fact,” according to the court papers.
Gross Medical Malpractice By ‘Groupie’ Doctors
Insiders say Rivers might still be alive today if throat specialists Dr. Cohen and Dr. Korovin had paid closer attention to Rivers’ plunging vital signs instead of continuing with their two unauthorized laryngoscopies and snapping selfies with their unconscious celebrity patient, Celebrity Health & Fitness reported.
In the lawsuit, Melissa accused Joan’s doctors of acting like “groupies” and letting her suffer irreparable brain damage after she stopped breathing for almost 20 minutes during a routine throat surgery she got to diagnose a mild sore throat.
During the time Joan was in cardiac arrest, Cohen and Korovin, snapped selfies and photos of each other and ignored the anesthesiologist’s urgent requests to immediately resuscitate her, Melissa alleges.
Korovin, a celebrity physician whose clients included Hugh Jackman and Celine Dion, denied taking any selfies. It’s unclear whether court papers support her denials. Meanwhile, Melissa is horrified by the substandard medical treatment her mother received before she died.
“In my opinion, [her death] was 100 percent preventable,” Melissa Rivers told the Today Show. “How about paying attention to the vital signs? The level of medical mismanagement, incompetency, disrespect, and outrageous behavior is shocking and almost incomprehensible. Not only did my mother deserve better, every patient deserves better.”