Melissa Rivers has laid the groundwork for a possible wrongful death lawsuit by hiring lawyers to investigate the circumstances of her mother Joan Rivers‘ death after a throat procedure.
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The comedienne, 81, died Sept. 4 from a lack of blood oxygen to the brain in what the New York City Medical Examiner’s office called a “predictable complication” of the procedure performed at a clinic on Aug. 28.
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“In order to fully determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Joan Rivers, we confirm that our firm has been engaged by Melissa Rivers and her family,” Ben Rubinowitz, a partner at Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman, Mackauf, Bloom & Rubinowitz, said in a statement Tuesday.
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After Rivers’ death, reports surfaced that her personal physician, Dr. Gwen Korovin, was present at the procedure and snapped a selfie picture of herself and Rivers during the surgery. Korovin, a New York-based ear, nose, and throat specialist with several celebrity clients, was not authorized to practice medicine at the Yorkville Endoscopy center where the procedure took place.
For the surgery Rivers was administered Propofol, the same anesthesia medicine blamed for the 2009 death of Michael Jackson after the Los Angeles County coroner ruled the singer suffered from “acute propofol intoxication.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.