Melissa Rivers Settles Suit Over Joan's Death
Terms of settlement not disclosed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 13, 2016 9:51 AM CDT
This April 22, 2013 file photo shows TV personalities Joan Rivers, left, and daughter Melissa Rivers at the 2013 Matrix New York Women in Communications Awards in New York.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – The family of comedian Joan Rivers, who died days after undergoing a routine endoscopy at a New York City clinic, has settled a medical malpractice lawsuit against the facility, the family's attorneys said Thursday. The 81-year-old comedian died Sept. 4, 2014, days after she went in for a routine procedure at Yorkville Endoscopy on Manhattan's Upper West Side and stopped breathing. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in 2015 in state Supreme Court in Manhattan that alleged doctors performed unauthorized medical procedures, snapped a selfie with the comedian, and failed to act as her vital signs deteriorated. Rivers' attorneys declined to specify the amount of the settlement, the AP reports, saying they wanted to "make certain that the focus of this horrific incident remains on improved patient care and the legacy of Joan Rivers."

Melissa Rivers said the settlement allows her to "put the legal aspects of my mother's death behind me and ensure that those culpable for her death have accepted responsibility for their actions quickly and without equivocation." The lawsuit had alleged that doctors at the clinic mishandled Rivers' endoscopy and performed another procedure, known as a laryngoscopy, on Rivers' vocal cords without consent. The suit claimed that an anesthesiologist expressed concern over what the procedure would do to Rivers' ability to breathe, but was told she was being "paranoid" by the gastroenterologist performing the endoscopy. The city's medical examiner found that Joan Rivers died of brain damage due to lack of oxygen after she stopped breathing during the endoscopy.