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Melissa Rivers working to ensure higher surgical safety standards

Published 13/05/2016

Melissa Rivers
Melissa Rivers

Melissa Rivers has vowed to work towards "ensuring higher safety standards" after settling her malpractice suit with the New York clinic which treated her mother Joan before her death.

Melissa Rivers has vowed to put the legal aspects of her mother Joan's death behind her.

The 81-year-old comedienne stopped breathing during a routine procedure at Yorkville Endoscopy in August 2014 and she passed away at a nearby New York hospital on 4 September (14). A medical examiner subsequently ruled she died of brain damage due to a lack of oxygen.

Melissa filed a lawsuit against the clinic in January 2015, with the court papers alleging that the doctors who performed the procedure were "reckless, grossly negligent and wanton", and performed procedures to which Joan did not consent. It also alleges that one of the doctors did not have credentials or privileges to treat patients at the facility.

But on Thursday (12May16) the case came to a close. Terms of the settlement were not revealed, but Melissa released a statement saying she is now hoping to find closure following her mother's passing.

"In accepting this settlement, I am able to put the legal aspects of my mother's death behind me and ensure that those culpable for her death have accepted responsibility for their actions quickly and without equivocation," she said in the statement obtained by E! News.

"Moving forward, my focus will be to ensure that no one ever has to go through what my mother, (son) Cooper and I went through and I will work towards ensuring higher safety standards in out-patient surgical clinics. I want to express my personal gratitude to my legal team for their wise counsel and prompt resolution of this case."

Melissa's legal team also released a statement, in which they said their work with the Rivers family is not finished. They also explained why the details of the settlement would not be made public.

"While we know that no amount of money will compensate Melissa Rivers and her son Cooper for their loss, we are pleased that the case has been resolved," the statement read. "We worked tirelessly to ensure that appropriate compensation was paid on behalf of those responsible for Joan Rivers' death.

"In keeping with Melissa's wishes, we will continue to work with the Rivers' family to ensure that appropriate safeguards and higher safety standards are put into effect in all ambulatory surgery centres to protect the health, safety and well-being of all patients and to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again. We have agreed to keep the terms of the settlement confidential to make certain that the focus of this horrific incident remains on improved patient care and the legacy of Joan Rivers."

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