Comedian Joan Rivers still on life support: daughter

Tue Sep 2, 2014 7:39pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comedian Joan Rivers remained on life support on Tuesday after being hospitalized in serious condition due to cardiac arrest last week, her daughter Melissa said.

Rivers, 81, was hospitalized in New York after she stopped breathing during outpatient surgery on her vocal cords at a Manhattan clinic.

"On behalf of my mother and our family, we are extremely grateful for all the love and support we've received. At this time, she does remain on life support," Melissa Rivers said in a statement.

She added that her mother would be overwhelmed by the kindness people have shown and thanked everyone for praying for her mother.

Rivers, an actress and stand-up comedian known for her acerbic brand of humor, has been at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan since Thursday.

Life support is provided to a patient to keep vital organs such as the brain, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys working. It can involve medications or devices to keep the heart pumping or a ventilator to help with breathing.

"Most often when a doctor puts a patient on life support, I would imagine that means they are on a ventilator and possibly some other combination for the support for the heart and the kidneys," Dr. Steven Simpson, a critical care specialist at the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, said in an interview.

Although Rivers is 81, he added that age is not as important as the care given immediately after cardiac arrest.

"What makes much more of a difference is the duration of the arrest and the success or failure of the initial resuscitation," he said. "Statistically age just doesn't weigh as heavily as you might think."   Continued...

Comedian Joan Rivers arrives for the premiere of the documentary "Joan Rivers - A Piece Of Work" during the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 25, 2010.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson