NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York City clinic has settled a malpractice lawsuit filed by the daughter of comedian Joan Rivers for an undisclosed amount over an ill-fated procedure that led to the celebrity’s death, lawyers for the Rivers family said on Thursday.
Rivers, who was 81, suffered a loss of oxygen to her brain on Aug. 28, 2014, as physicians at the Yorkville Endoscopy center in Manhattan inserted instruments to examine her throat and vocal cords. She died a week later at a New York hospital.
Her daughter, Melissa, filed a malpractice suit in January 2015, alleging doctors posed for selfies with their sedated celebrity patient even as her vital signs were plunging.
“In choosing to accept this settlement, I am able 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,” Melissa Rivers said in a statement released by her lawyers, Ben Rubinowitz and Jeff Bloom.
Reuters could not reach representatives of Yorkville Endoscopy for comment. The New York Times quoted a spokesman as saying, “The parties agreed to settle this case to avoid protracted litigation. We remain committed to providing quality, compassionate health care services.”
The Rivers lawyers said the doctors did not deny responsibility.
Shortly before the lawsuit was filed, a government health agency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, cited the Yorkville clinic for failing to follow standard protocols during its treatment of Rivers.
Melissa Rivers vowed to work toward ensuring higher safety standards at outpatient surgical clinics.
“We have agreed to keep the terms of the settlement confidential to make certain that the focus of this horrific incident remains on improved patient care and the legacy of Joan Rivers,” the two lawyers said in the statement.
Reporting by Daniel Trotta in New York and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Matthew Lewis