Joan Rivers’ Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Ends in Settlement

Almost two years ago, 81-year-old comedian and television personality Joan Rivers died during a laryngoscopy. A medical malpractice lawsuit filed against Yorkville Endoscopy by Rivers’ daughter, Melissa Rivers, claims that doctors were initially scheduled to perform a vocal-cord biopsy, a less risky procedure. Performing a laryngoscopy may have caused Rivers to go into cardiac arrest, which led to her death.

An anesthesiologist present for the procedure even vocalized concerns about performing a laryngoscopy, and was worried it could impair Rivers’ ability to breathe. In addition to concerns prior to carrying out the operation, an investigation conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services uncovered numerous medical errors before and during the procedure.

Doctors did not weigh Rivers before conducting the laryngoscopy, which made it difficult to know how much anesthesia to use. The lawsuit also claims that doctors did not receive consent from Rivers to perform the laryngoscopy and relied on improperly recorded medication records. Perhaps the strangest part of this case, is that doctors thought it was appropriate to take selfies with the comedian.

Melissa Rivers has received an undisclosed amount from the settlement. Hospitals, their insurance companies and their attorneys may attempt to settle with patients or families to avoid public trials and media attention.

Settlements and Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical malpractice victims and their attorneys can negotiate with hospitals and their lawyers to attempt to come to an agreement without having to go to court for a trial. Insurance companies and attorneys that represent hospitals are often motivated by minimizing losses and maximizing profits, which means patients and their families may feel like they are treated unfairly during the settlement negotiation process.

Experienced attorneys will prepare every medical malpractice claim as if it is going to trial, including gathering evidence, obtaining discovery and finding expert witnesses. There will likely be a number of court hearings and conferences during this time regarding pretrial matters. Judges may hold conferences with lawyers to attempt to settle cases.

When hospitals and their attorneys see that medical malpractice victims are fully prepared for trial, it will show they have solid case that will likely win in court. This is when hospitals typically decide to make a settlement offer rather than gamble on a jury verdict. If and when a settlement offer is made, the victim should discuss his or her options with their attorney to see if it is fair.

Shapiro Law Group is a Tampa Bay medical malpractice firm dedicated to helping the victims of medical wrongdoing.


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