Famed comedian Joan Rivers went into cardiac arrest and died in 2014 during a medical procedure in a New York City clinic. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, later filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the clinic and several of its employees, claiming negligence. The case just settled this week for unspecified damages.
The settlement of the Joan Rivers case has brought to light some of the facts of the case. The facts alleged included having unauthorized personnel in the operating room, performing an unauthorized surgery, ignoring an alarming change in her vital signs, and incredible unprofessionalism as well as sheer negligence by taking selfies instead of providing proper care. The general public is learning about the facts of this case since they involved a celebrity.
Most folks, however, would be shocked to learn the extent that medical malpractice occurs in our country. A recently published study, which was led by a professor of surgery at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, shows that medical errors in hospitals and other health care facilities are incredibly common. In fact, those errors are so common that they are now the third leading cause of death each year, accounting for over 251,000 unnecessary deaths annually. Only heart disease and cancer take more lives each year than medical errors. This means that more people die as a result of medical malpractice each year than are killed by respiratory disease, accidents, strokes and Alzheimer’s disease. It is simply outrageous that this amount of people die each year, not from the disease for which they are seeking treatment, but from the treatment (or mistreatment) itself.
By shedding light on the errors that killed Joan Rivers, we hope that this case will lead to the practitioners effectuating changes so that the same horrific outcome does not happen to other patients in the future.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice or negligence, contact us for a free consultation.
Joseph B. Landy is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Lawyer with extensive experience representing individuals who have suffered personal injuries or wrongful death.