The Law Offices of John Phebus

Melissa Rivers settles lawsuit over mother's death

Arizona residents who were fans of the late comedian Joan Rivers have probably heard about the medical mistakes that led to her death. Rivers was undergoing throat surgery at a clinic when she died in September 2014 at the age of 81. According to a medical examiner, Rivers experienced a lack of oxygen that led to brain damage. Medical personnel were unable to resuscitate Rivers after she stopped breathing.

Following her mother's death, Melissa Rivers sued the outpatient medical facility for medical malpractice. On May 13, it was reported that Melissa Rivers' wrongful death lawsuit against Yorkville Endoscopy had been settled. Melissa Rivers had previously stated that she wanted to file the lawsuit so that the doctors responsible for her mother's death would be held accountable, and no other family would have to experience a similar event.

The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that doctors at the clinic failed to intervene when Rivers' vital signs began to deteriorate. An anesthesiologist who expressed concern over Rivers' vital signs during the procedure was reportedly called paranoid by other staff. Among the other accusations in the lawsuit is the claim that doctors took a selfie with Rivers while she was sedated.

Although it has been reported that the amount of the settlement was in the millions of dollars, the motivations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a hospital or clinic are not always exclusively financial. Many families wish to hold doctors responsible for their negligence so that there will be a public record of the fatal event. At the same time, families who have lost a loved one because of surgical errors may want to pursue financial compensation for the sudden loss of income, funeral expenses and other costs associated with the death. An attorney can be helpful in explaining the procedures that are involved in this type of civil lawsuit and the damages that are allowed to be sought by statute.

Source: Inquisitr, "Melissa Rivers and Family Settle Joan Rivers Wrongful Death Lawsuit," Amy Feinstein, May 13, 2016

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