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The family of Joan Rivers has settled a medical malpractice suit against the New York City clinic where the comedian died.
“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,” said her daughter Melissa Rivers in a statement on Thursday. (Read the full statement below.)
Joan Rivers died Sept. 4, 2014, at age 81. The comedian’s death came days after she stopped breathing after undergoing a routine endoscopy at Yorkville Endoscopy in Manhattan.
Melissa Rivers filed the suit in 2015 in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleging that the doctors performed unauthorized medical procedures, as they were caught taking a selfie with the Fashion Police star while she was under anesthesia.
Melissa Rivers’ attorneys Ben Rubinowitz and Jeff Bloom did not disclose the amount of the settlement, but said they wanted to “make certain that the focus of this horrific incident remains on improved patient care and the legacy of Joan Rivers,” according to the Associated Press.
The lawsuit alleged that doctors at the clinic mishandled Rivers’ procedure by performing a laryngoscopy on her vocal cords without consent, instead of an endoscopy. According to the AP, the suit claimed that when an anesthesiologist expressed concern over what the procedure would do to her ability to breathe, she was told that she was being “paranoid.”
The autopsy revealed that Rivers’ official cause of death was due to brain damage from lack of oxygen.
Read Melissa Rivers’ full statement below:
The lawsuit concerning my mother’s death has been settled. 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. Moving forward, my focus will be to ensure that no one ever has to go through what my mother, 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.
The clinic responded to the settlement Thursday night, telling the AP that it’s committed to providing quality and compassionate health care services, and adding that both sides agreed to a settlement to avoid litigation.
6:45 p.m. PT: Updated with clinic statement
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