Melissa Rivers Hires Law Firm to Investigate Joan Rivers' Death. Possible Lawsuit?

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Melissa Rivers has retained attorneys to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Sept. 4 death of her mother, Joan Rivers.

“In order to fully determine all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Joan Rivers we confirm that our firm has been engaged by Melissa Rivers and her family," Ben Runbinowitz, a lawyer for the law firm of Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman, Mackauf, Bloom & Rubinowitz, said in a statement.

According to the New York Post, Melissa will file a multimillion-dollar medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the endoscopy clinic — including the doctors involved in the procedure — where ​her mother stopped breathing during a routine throat procedure. The legendary comedienne was later placed in a medically-induced coma until her family decided to take her off life support.

Earlier this month, the New York City medical examiner ​said Rivers’ official cause of death was “anoxic encephalopathy due to hypoxic arrest during laryngoscopy and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with propofol sedation.” In other words, the Fashion Police co-host lacked sufficient oxygen to her brain for an extended period of time, causing brain damage. Her heart had stopped after she was sedated with propofol.

On Oct. 17, Yorkville Endoscopy, the clinic where Rivers was treated, was found deficient during a routine investigation by the New York State Health Department. The department said it found lapses in governing body and management, surgical services, medical staff and patient rights.

The clinic's accreditation will be permanently terminated on Jan. 7, unless it can prove that the problems have been corrected.

"The center has been working collaboratively with appropriate government regulatory agencies to ensure complete compliance with all regulations," said a spokesperson for the clinic. "The center remains open and will continue to collaborate with all accreditation and government regulatory agencies to ensure quality care."

Pam Wright

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