According to a new report from CNN, Joan Rivers’ doctor was snapping selfies of himself in the operating room just before the comedian’s vocal chords began to swell, causing her to go into cardiac arrest.
A staff member at Manhattan’s Yorkville Endoscopy clinic told investigators that the doctor, who has not been publicly identified, took a selfie photo in the procedure room while Rivers was under anesthesia, the source said.
Rivers, 81, was at the clinic for a scheduled endoscopy by another doctor, gastroenterologist Dr. Lawrence Cohen. That procedure, intended to help diagnose her hoarse voice and sore throat, involved the insertion of a camera down her throat.
When Dr. Lawrence Cohen, medical director of Yorkville, finished performing the endoscopy on Rivers, the unidentified ear nose and throat specialist began a biopsy on her vocal cords – a biopsy that was not approved by the comedian or her family. CNN says that during that procedure, her vocal cords “began to swell,” which blocked oxygen to her lungs and led to her cardiac arrest.
Yorkville Endoscopy issued a statement last Thursday denying reports that any vocal cord biopsy has ever been done at the clinic, although federal privacy law prevented any patient information from being released.
The day after the denial was issued, the clinic confirmed that Dr. Cohen “is not currently performing procedures…nor is he currently serving as medical director.”
The source said that at this time neither Cohen nor the ear, nose and throat doctor have been accused of wrongdoing by investigators.
The clinic declined to respond to the source’s comments about a biopsy or a selfie, citing federal privacy law.
Watch CNN’s report in the video below: