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Clinic that treated comedienne may have made medical mistakes

About a month ago, Montana residents were shocked to learn that comedienne Joan Rivers died while undergoing a medical procedure. The 81-year-old television personality had undergone a procedure on her throat when she suffered cardiac arrest. Her ensuing death prompted many individuals to question how Rivers' condition could have taken such a dramatically tragic turn.

Recently the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities went to the facility where Rivers suffered her medical mishap and conducted an unscheduled evaluation. The AAAASF found deficiencies in the facility's practices and placed it on suspension. However, the facility apparently did not acknowledge the suspension and continued to see patients even after the AAAASF's visit.

Another authoritative body also looked into the circumstances surrounding Rivers' death. According to the state of New York (which is the state where the procedure took place), Rivers was accompanied to her procedure with a doctor she knew. That doctor was only authorized to watch her procedure but ended up performing a biopsy at the time of the scheduled endoscopy. Rivers never signed off on the biopsy and the New York investigation suggests that her throat began to close during the unauthorized procedure.

When doctors perform medical procedures on patients without their patients' consent, those doctors can be charged with medical malpractice. Medical mistakes made by the biopsying doctor could have potentially cost the comedienne her life. Regardless of whether the doctor was negligent in completing the biopsy procedure, his engagement in the course of action could in itself constitute malpractice.

Joan Rivers' death has gained widespread publicity due to her celebrity status. However, individuals throughout Montana suffer doctor errors every year and must bear the burdens of recovery on their own. Individuals who have suffered harm as a result of their doctors' mistakes have rights to compensation for their injuries.

Source: NBC Montana, "Clinic that treated Joan Rivers still open," Susan Candiotti and Alan Duke, Sept. 17, 2014

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