New York clinic that treated Joan Rivers says no biopsy performed

Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:44pm EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York clinic where comedian Joan Rivers stopped breathing a week before her death denied on Wednesday ever administering general anesthesia or conducting a vocal cord biopsy as has been alleged in media reports as contributing to her demise.

It was the first time the Yorkville Endoscopy clinic issued a statement since Aug. 28, when Rivers was rushed to a nearby hospital from the center with cardiac arrest.

She died at age 81 on Sept 4.

The clinic did not mention Rivers by name but issued the statement hours after New York's Daily News newspaper reported that an unplanned vocal cord biopsy at the clinic had left the Brooklyn-born comedian unable to breathe.

"A biopsy of the vocal cords has never been performed at Yorkville Endoscopy," said the clinic, which specializes in gastrointestinal procedures. "General anesthesia has never been administered."

The Daily News said Rivers' doctor, who said he was an ear, nose and throat specialist, asked if he could use the clinic's instruments when another doctor said he had noticed something on Rivers' vocal cords, and he was given the go-ahead.

"A biopsy like that should only be done in hospital," the newspaper quoted the unnamed medical source as saying. "If she had been in a hospital when it happened, she might have been OK."

When asked for further comment, Yorkville Endoscopy said it had nothing more to add.   Continued...

The Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York September 6, 2014.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri