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Famous comedian's death could result in wrongful death claim

Most people in the Charleston area have probably heard about the recent death of Joan Rivers. The 81-year-old comedian, fashion critic and television personality became an entertainment icon during her decades of performances and public appearances. Just a few weeks ago, Rivers died after going to a medical clinic for what was supposed to have been a routine procedure.

Rivers had been concerned about her throat because she was experiencing chronic vocal problems. She went to a clinic to have an endoscopy, which is a common procedure that allows doctors to examine and take pictures of the patient's vocal cords or other areas of the body.

According to witnesses, one of Rivers' personal doctors accompanied her to the clinic for the endoscopy. While Rivers was unconscious during the procedure, her personal doctor, who was not affiliated with the clinic, apparently noticed something troubling on Rivers' throat. The doctor then took it upon herself to perform a biopsy, which involves removing tissue from the patient. Rivers stopped breathing during the biopsy and never awoke; she died in a hospital a week later.

In the wake of Rivers' unexpected death, her daughter is apparently looking into her options for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Such a suit would likely be based on medical malpractice principles. Various parties are potential defendants, including the medical clinic, the doctor who performed the endoscopy and the doctor who performed the biopsy.

While Rivers was an extraordinary entertainer and person, her death was the type of occurrence that is all too ordinary amongst patients from all geographic areas and socioeconomic backgrounds. When doctors or other medical professionals fail to adhere to the standards of their professions and practice areas, they risk injuring their patients. Anyone who has been affected by this kind of medical negligence may be entitled to compensation.

Source: Examiner.com, "Joan Rivers wrongful death lawsuit: Melissa may get tens of millions of dollars," Samantha Chang, Sept. 21, 2014

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