Joan Rivers – Another Casualty of Preventable Medical Error?
Written by Editor   
Thursday, September 18, 2014 03:14 PM

The New York State Health Department is investigating the circumstances behind the death of beloved comedienne Joan Rivers on 

September 4 after a routine procedure went very wrong at an Upper East Side clinic in New York City.  While it is too early to speculate on whether a tragic (aren’t they all?) preventable medical error was instrumental in Ms. River’s demise, it’s never to early to discuss the epidemic of preventable medical deaths in America.

Our medical consultant postulates that propofol was used in the procedure (drug made infamous by Michael Jackson’s death) without intubation and proper monitoring of carbon dioxide levels. She likely stopped breathing and it was not immediately noticed in time to prevent her brain from oxygen deprivation. On the other hand, it just could have been her time – Ms. Rivers mentioned to Joan London in a recent interview she had heart problems.  Yet, on even another hand why would a physician consent to perform this elective surgery given her age and heart condition (if there was one).  

“Death By Medicine” is a fully referenced report shows the number of people having in-hospital, adverse reactions to prescribed drugs to be 2.2 million per year. The number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections is 20 million per year. The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million per year. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million per year.

So when TMA / AMA screams from the mountain tops that medical docs are all about consumer protection, who are they protecting exactly?  No matter which study you point to, you are more likely to die as a result of a preventable medical error than you are driving your car.