Melissa Rivers, the daughter of the late Joan Rivers, is planning to file a medical malpractice lawsuit after the investigations into the cause of Joan’s death is complete. The lawsuit speculation is heating up fast amid reports there may have been negligence on multiple levels leading up to Rivers’ tragic death.
Witnesses recently told CNN Joan Rivers’ personal physician, Gwen Korovin, had performed an unauthorized biopsy during the routine throat surgery Rivers got at Yorkville Endoscopy, an outpatient clinic in New York.
Fans were furious after witnesses claimed Korovin had snapped a selfie while Rivers was under anesthesia. Korovin denied those allegations, but has since maintained a low profile after being called a murderer in furious social media rants.
New reports claim Korovin had been subpoenaed in the $67 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of comedian John Ritter, who died of an aortic dissection in 2003. It’s unclear how Korovin was involved, but the ear, nose and throat specialist allegedly refused service of the subpoena.
Meanwhile, NeNe Leakes, star of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” is the frontrunner to replace Joan on “Fashion Police,” Radar reported. Sources said Leakes would make an excellent addition to the show because she has her own fashion line, is extremely opinionated (just like Joan was) and could help expand the show’s audience.
Comedian Kathy Griffin and TV host Tyra Banks are also being considered to replace Joan.
Meanwhile, the New York State Health Department and the New York City Medical Examiners Office are currently doing separate investigations into the cause of Rivers’ death.
Toxicology reports are also allegedly being done to determine if Joan was given Propofol, the powerful anesthesia that caused the 2009 death of Michael Jackson.
Sources said investigators are trying to determine whether Rivers was given too strong a dose of anesthesia. However, Yorkville Endoscopy denies Rivers was given Propofol or any general anesthesia during her Aug. 28 endoscopy.
Investigators are also trying to determine if Joan’s personal physician, Gwen Korovin, went ahead with an unauthorized biopsy that later caused Rivers to stop breathing. Rivers had only consented to an endoscopy, and experts said a biopsy would have required Joan’s consent.
Medical experts also said a biopsy should be performed at a hospital, not an outpatient clinic. Korovin has denied performing a biopsy, and Yorkville Endoscopy denies a biopsy was performed on Joan.
If investigators determine there has been egregious negligence, criminal charges may be filed against Gwen Korovin and Dr. Lawrence Cohen (who performed her endoscopy) that could lead to jail time, said Vincent Parco, a former chief investigator for New York’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct.
If the allegations that Korovin performed an unauthorized biopsy are true, she “could face felony charges and up to three years in jail,” Parco told the National Enquirer.
Parco said Cohen, who had performed the routine endoscopy on Rivers, could be charged with “aiding and abetting” charges if it’s true that he allowed Korovin to do the biopsy in violation of medical procedures that require patient consent for biopsies.
Cohen has since resigned from Yorkville Endoscopy. So far, no one has been charged with any wrongdoing.
Melissa Would Likely Win Civil Case, But Criminal Charges Unlikely
A veteran litigator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told me exclusively Melissa Rivers could be awarded tens of millions of dollars in a wrongful death lawsuit if the negligence allegations are true because Joan was earning a robust income at the time of her death.
Because of Melissa’s financial dependence on her mom, she could easily make a claim for lost income, explained the attorney, a former prosecutor with the Department of Justice and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
However, he said criminal charges would likely not be filed because — unlike in Michael Jackson’s wrongful death lawsuit, the possible negligence in Joan’s case was a one-shot occurrence and was not done over a course of years — as was alleged in the Jackson case.
Dr. Mehmet Oz said Rivers was deathly afraid of anesthesia, and that he had warned her against getting more plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures as a result.
“I was giving her a hard time about plastic surgery and she said, ‘I’m not worried about surgery, I’m worried about the anesthesia,'” Oz recounted on his show.
Despite her concerns, Rivers insisted to the end that she would continue to get more plastic surgeries as she saw fit.
“I’ve had so much plastic surgery, when I die, they’ll donate my body to Tupperware,” Joan once joked. “I wish I had a twin so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery.”
Update: Joan Rivers cause of death revealed