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Joan Rivers’ Daughter Filing Malpractice Lawsuit

Against endoscopy clinic where comedian went into cardiac arrest

Stephanie Butnick
October 28, 2014
Melissa Rivers and Joan Rivers on May 15, 2014 in New York City. (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
Melissa Rivers and Joan Rivers on May 15, 2014 in New York City. (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Melissa Rivers is filing a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit following her mother’s death in September, the New York Post’s Page Six reports. The “multimillion-dollar” suit is against Yorkville Endoscopy clinic, where Joan Rivers went into cardiac arrest during a routine throat procedure after doctors performed an unplanned biopsy. She was put into a medically-induced coma and died the following week.

In the nearly two months since her death, moving tributes to Rivers have appeared online and on television. We were lucky enough to be able to publish an excerpt of Abigail Pogrebin’s interview with Rivers, which appeared in Pogrebin’s 2005 book, Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish. Among other things, Rivers spoke about her Jewish upbringing:

Rivers—formerly Joan Molinsky—grew up in Brooklyn on a street known as “Doctors’ Row,” since so many physicians lived there. She remembers that during the war children were being sent from Europe to safety in New York. “There was always some doctor who had a niece or a cousin from Prague coming to live with them. And that’s because these were kids that were being snuck out. I remember we lost relatives in France. I was old enough, in 1945, to hear all the Holocaust stories. The one that stays with me was one of the good Holocaust stories: An uncle was hidden through the whole war in one of his patient’s cellars. And we had another uncle whom my mother was sending clothes to, who wrote us about a jacket he received: ‘When I put my hand in the pocket and I found gloves, I felt like a gentleman again.’”

You can read the rest of the interview here.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.