One doctor is out at Manhattan clinic that treated Joan Rivers


Two weeks after Joan Rivers went into cardiac arrest during a routine throat procedure, the medical office involved was one doctor down.

Dr. Lawrence Cohen is no longer medical director at Yorkville Endoscopy in New York City, nor does he perform procedures there anymore, a spokeswoman for the clinic told the Associated Press on Friday.

No details regarding his departure were given, but TMZ reported that he stepped down after the clinic’s board of directors, which sources said did not blame him for the comic’s death, requested he do so.


Cohen, a gastroenterologist who also teaches at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, has a resume packed with achievements and accolades, according to a biography on the clinic’s website, which still had him listed as being on staff Friday afternoon. State records show him as a co-owner of the outpatient clinic, the AP said.

A source told the New York Times on Thursday that Cohen brought an ear-nose-throat doctor who was not authorized to work at the clinic into the operating room during Rivers’ procedure.

Yorkville Endoscopy had released a statement Wednesday in response to a report that an impromptu biopsy had caused Rivers’ vocal cords to seize up.

“A biopsy of vocal cords has never been performed at Yorkville Endoscopy,” the clinic said (via NBC News), making it clear that it was not referring to any specific patient.

“General anesthesia has never been administered at Yorkville Endoscopy,” the statement continued, describing its type of sedation as “monitored” and “light to mooderate.”

Rivers, who was rushed from the clinic to Mt. Sinai Hospital on Aug. 28, died Sept. 4 at age 81. A private funeral was held Sunday.


In 1985, the woman who would go on to host “Fashion Police,” revealed on “Good Morning America” (via People) that she had an arrhythmatic heart, saying she was “always very careful” when she was going to go under anesthesia because her heart could “go out of kilter.”

Dr. Daniel J. Adler, a colleague of Cohen’s at Yorkville, told the New York Times on Tuesday, “We would love to set the record straight from all the misinformation that’s out there. Unfortunately, our lips are sealed.”

The New York State Department of Health said Thursday that it was continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding Rivers’ procedure and its complications.

Calls to Yorkville Endoscopy on Thursday and Friday were not returned.

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