September 12, 2014 / 7:49 PM / 4 years ago

Joan Rivers' doctor not currently working at New York clinic

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The doctor who performed the outpatient throat procedure on comedian Joan Rivers, who died last week in a New York hospital, is not currently working there, the clinic said on Friday.

Comedian Joan Rivers talks to reporters as she arrives for a gala honoring the late stand-up comedian George Carlin, the 11th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor recipient, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, in this November 10, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Molly Riley/Files

Rivers, 81, died on Sept 4, a week after she suffered a cardiac arrest during the procedure and was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Yorkville Endoscopy said Dr Lawrence Cohen, a renowned gastroenterologist and co-owner of the center, was not currently working there.

“Dr. Cohen is not currently performing procedures at Yorkville Endoscopy; nor is he currently serving as medical director,” a representative for the center said in a statement.

No other details were released and the clinic did not respond to calls for comment about media reports that Cohen had been asked by the board to step down.

Rivers’ cause of death is still unknown, pending further tests, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The State Department of Health has been investigating the center on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, examining documents and interviewing staff.

On Thursday, Yorkville Endoscopy issued its first statement since Rivers was treated at the center on Aug. 28. It denied ever administering general anesthesia or conducting a vocal cord biopsy, which media reports alleged contributed to the comedian’s death.

Although it did not mention Rivers by name, the statement was released hours after New York’s Daily News newspaper reported an unplanned vocal cord biopsy had left the Brooklyn-born comedian unable to breathe.

Rivers was known for her acerbic wit, cosmetic surgeries and classic put downs. Her career as a stand-up comedian, author, talk show host and reality TV star spanned five decades.

Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Sandra Maler

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