I loved Joan Rivers because she was a straight shooter and originally from my hometown of Brooklyn, New York. People from Brooklyn don’t bite their tongues and I’m not going to bite mine now.
What the heck was her physician thinking when he agreed to do a major procedure in an office setting. To the uninitiated, having a tube stuck down your throat might sound like a “simple” procedure, but if it’s being done under general anesthesia, the rules of the game change.
General anesthesia means that you are being put in a medically induced coma and receiving drugs that affect your breathing, ability to move, feel pain and your nervous system. It is a procedure that involves close monitoring and medical clearance prior to being done, especially if you’re over age 50. A physical exam is necessary that includes an evaluation of your heart via an EKG. With the exception of excessive bleeding, the most common surgical complication occurs because of general anesthesia and not the procedure itself. Joan Rivers was an 81 year old woman, for goodness sake, despite her youthful appearance based on aesthetics. Why on earth would someone operate on an 81 year old woman in a setting that can’t handle emergencies? She should have clearly been in a hospital where a potential complication could be quickly addressed. Was there a crash cart at that outpatient clinic? Could they handle a “stat Code Blue?” Probably not which is why they had to call 911 and have Rivers transported to Mount Sinai Hospital several blocks away.
And poor Dr. Donda West, the mother of Kanye mom suffered a similar fate. She had multiple cosmetic procedures done in one setting, under general anesthesia and died.
Yes, New York State will conduct their investigation and probably find nothing wrong but those of us who are trained physicians know better. What killed Joan Rivers and Donda West? Poor clinical judgment and it really needs to stop.