After the death of comedian Joan Rivers, there is a lot of talk about her daughter filing a medical malpractice lawsuit on her behalf. According to CNN, Rivers died from cardiac and respiratory arrest during a minor elective procedure at Yorkville Endoscopy, a Manhattan medical clinic.
The routine procedure was on her throat, and her death has spurred an investigation by the state health department. But, doctors are saying that just because a procedure is considered “routine,” it doesn’t mean it is simple.
Doctors are saying that all procedures come with risks and complications, especially when conducted on older persons who have a more difficult time coping with the physical stress of surgery.
The type of surgery Rivers underwent has not been released, according to CNN, so the details are lacking. But, if a medical malpractice lawsuit is filed, it would be looking at whether the doctor conducted a thorough health evaluation on Rivers prior to surgery to determine whether she was at risk for complications such as cardiac arrest.
The details of Rivers’ autopsy are inconclusive, according to reports.
We will see what happens over the course of the next few months. But, for now, it is important to remember that all surgical procedures come with risks, specific to each individual patient. All doctors and surgeons have a responsibility to explain these risks to patients prior to surgery, no matter how minor or invasive the procedure may be.
Doctors are also responsible to conduct complete evaluations on patients before surgery to make sure they are healthy enough to handle the stress. If a doctor fails to live up to his or her duty of care and a patient suffers injury or death as a result, the injured patient and/or his or her family may be eligible to file suit.