Death of Joan Rivers Highlights Problems with Outpatient Surgical Centers
Patients should consider the risks and benefits of having a procedure at an outpatient surgical center. The death of Joan Rivers emphasizes the need for increased oversight.
The death of comedian Joan Rivers has highlighted problems with outpatient surgical centers. A lawsuit was filed by Melissa Rivers, daughter of the late comedian and actor. The suit was settled for an undisclosed amount. Melissa Rivers expressed relief at having the legal aspects of the suit behind her and promised to “work towards ensuring higher safety standards in outpatient surgical clinics.”
According to Bogdan Martinovich, an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer, “Surgery can be risky for anyone, but the elderly are especially vulnerable. Something went wrong for Ms. Rivers and the surgical center was not prepared to handle the crisis. Unfortunately, Ms. Rivers passed away.”
Surgical Centers and Seniors
Doctors working at surgical centers should be knowledgeable about working with senior citizens. Around half of all surgical center patients are over the age of 60. Common procedures include:
- Upper GI tract endoscopy
- Lens and cataract surgery
It is key for patient safety to ensure that risks and benefits of performing a procedure at a surgical center are considered. The correct staff members should be in the room when the procedure is performed.
Death of a Legend
Joan Rivers had complained of hoarseness and a sore throat. She underwent a laryngoscopy, which examines the vocal cords. Rivers’ suffered a closing of her vocal cords, restricting her ability to breath. The proper staff were not on hand and several minutes passed before 911 was notified.
Rivers went into cardiac arrest. She died a week later when she was removed from life support.
Surgical centers are trying to maximize profits, and clinicians may be completing tasks that should be performed by a specialist, like intubation or giving anesthesia. Rivers’ family wants to ensure that surgical centers have to maintain the same standards as hospitals.
Illinois medical malpractice lawyer Bogdan Martinovich said, “Surgical centers are convenient, but patients should carefully consider the risks of having a procedure in an outpatient setting.”