Joan Rivers: Medical Director at Clinic Out

Joan Rivers ABC - H 2014
AP Images/Invision

Joan Rivers ABC - H 2014

Lawrence B. Cohen was reportedly Rivers' personal doctor

The head of the medical clinic where Joan Rivers' suffered complications during a routine procedure is no longer at the outpatient surgery center. 

EsteemedTM but currently embattled gastroenterologist   Lawrence B. Cohen was the facility's medical director and a board member. “Dr. Cohen is not currently performing procedures at Yorkville Endoscopy; nor is he currently serving as medical director," a Yorkville Endoscopy spokesperson tells The Hollywood Reporter in a statement.

The spokesperson did not address whether Cohen's ownership stake in the facility has been altered. TMZ first reported that Cohen was forced to resign, although he is not being blamed for her death. 

The New York Times has identified Cohen as Rivers' personal doctor. What happened during her routine procedure at Yorkville is unclear, but the New York State Department of Health is investigating. The New York Daily News reported that Rivers underwent an impromptu biopsy by a doctor who was not authorized to operate at Yorkville. However, the clinic denies a biopsy was performed.

"A biopsy of the vocal cords has never been performed at Yorkville Endoscopy," according to a statement by the clinic's spokesperson. "General anesthesia has never been administered at Yorkville Endoscopy. The type of sedation used at Yorkville Endoscopy is monitored anesthesia care.  Our anesthesiologists utilize light to moderate sedation.  The sedation is administered intravenously and the patient spontaneously maintains all vital functions... anesthesia is only administered by a board certified MD anesthesiologist. A gastroenterologist never administers sedation/anesthesia."

Rivers was rushed from Yorkville Endoscopy to Mt. Sinai Hospital a week before her death on Sept. 4.

Cohen also is no longer with his private practice group, New York Gastroenterology Associates.

"If you are looking for Dr. Lawrence Cohen, he is no longer with New York Gastroenterology Associates," says an outgoing message at the Upper East Side office where he was in private practice. A woman who answered the phone confirmed the news and hung up on THR when asked to confirm the group's affiliation with Mt. Sinai and Yorkville Endoscopy. Another woman at NYGA hung up on THR when asked when he had left the group.

An email to Dr. Cohen at his Mt. Sinai address, where he is listed as a clinical professor of gastroenterology, bounced back on Tuesday.


Sept. 12, 4:16 p.m. Updated with statements from Yorkville Endoscopy.