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Joan Rivers: Selfies, procedure deviations, medical malpractice?

The recent death of Joan Rivers has brought up some important questions that might never be answered. When the comedienne went in for an endoscopy, she likely didn't expect that she would never wake up again. One thing led to another in that doctor's office, and Rivers ended up in cardiac arrest. The question of medical negligence or medical malpractice has come up, but it isn't clear if or when the determination about those issues will come. The three issues might be of interest to our Washington, District of Columbia, readers.

One of the issues surrounding the incident is whether Rivers gave her permission to have the biopsy that ultimately led to her going into cardiac arrest. She consented to the endoscopy, which involves simply looking into the throat. The biopsy, which involves taking a tissue sample, was noted as being unplanned.

There is also the issue of whether the doctor acted in an appropriate manner by moving forward with the biopsy. This is where the issue of an acceptable standard of care comes into the picture. This means that it must be decided whether the doctor acted in a manner that would be acceptable by her peers in the same situation.

A final issue that comes into the situation is that of the selfie the doctor may have taken before doing the procedure but after Rivers was under anesthesia. This would be a deviation from the procedure standards, which could be construed as medical malpractice.

Joan Rivers' death was a tragedy that brought to light an important issue. When a doctor has a patient undergoing a procedure, the patient's safety is paramount. Taking selfies, deviating from acceptable procedures and doing unauthorized procedures aren't generally acceptable and can lead to patient harm. Anyone who has been the victim of these types of situations has the right to seek compensation.

Source: Fox News, "Joan Rivers investigation: It's the 'selfie,' stupid!" Gregg Jarrett, Sep. 18, 2014

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