Dr. Lawrence B. Cohen, the gastroenterologist who performed the throat procedure on Joan Rivers before she died, is out from Yorkville Endoscopy clinic.
Reports are conflicting as to whether Cohen, who was also the clinic’s medical director, voluntarily stepped down or was fired.
“Dr. Cohen is not currently performing procedures at Yorkville Endoscopy, nor is he currently serving as medical director,” said a spokesperson from the clinic in a statement obtained by TheWrap.
All of this comes in the wake of an explosive report claiming the 81-year-old comedienne underwent an unplanned throat biopsy at the clinic. The New York medical facility fired back at those allegations Thursday, saying in a statement “a biopsy of the vocal cords has never been performed at Yorkville Endoscopy.”
Thursday’s statement contradicted Tuesday’s New York Daily News report that Rivers underwent the unplanned biopsy at the facility and that it caused a laryngospasm, an involuntary muscle contraction of the vocal cords. The paper says the procedure was performed by a doctor who was part the entourage she brought with her. The medical source told the paper Rivers may have survived if the procedure had instead been done in a hospital. The source further alleges that Rivers had only signed off on an endoscopy.
Last week, the New York Medical Examiner’s Office told TheWrap that the autopsy of Rivers’ body did not yield a firm cause or manner of death, and that further studies would be conducted to determine how she died. Reports were that she stopped breathing while undergoing the throat surgery on Aug. 28.
Rivers was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital, but the comedienne did not recover. She was put in a medically-induced coma and on life support, but she passed away on Sept. 4.