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Lawsuits & Litigation

Court Papers Reveal Joan Rivers’ Doc Did Take Pictures

— July 16, 2015


Recent court papers reveal Joan Rivers’ doc did take pictures of her while she was under sedation. That would be Dr. Lawrence Cohen, the former head of Yorkville Endoscopy and the focus of a lawsuit by Rivers’ daughter, Melissa. Despite the quack’s fervent insistence that he didn’t act like an unprofessional ass, the clinic’s records, reports from a federal regulatory agency and the medical examiner’s report say otherwise. These documents were made public on Tuesday.

Interestingly, Dr. Cohen will not submit sworn testimony denying he took the pictures. Surely if he’s innocent he should want to swear to it, right? Unless he Googled “perjury.”

Apparently, the answer to “Can we talk?” is “Yes!” for everyone involved except Cohen.

The suit includes Cohen and two other doctors, Gwen Korovin and Renuka Bankulla. The anesthesiologist, Dr. Bankulla, made notes in Rivers’ medical records that the pictures were taken.

The court papers state, “Notably, despite Dr. Bankulla’s clear statement in the medical records that Dr. Cohen took a photograph of Joan Rivers while she was unconscious during the procedure, Dr. Cohen’s unverified response … denies this fact.”

Melissa Rivers’ legal team, Jeffrey Bloom and Ben Rubinowitz, also state that Daniel Adler, the clinic director, wrote a letter to Melissa in which he admitted that many of his own staff who were present during the ill-fated procedure told him that Cohen took pictures of his sedated patient.

The Rivers’ attorneys petitioned the judge to order the clinic and doctors to give sworn answers to certain inquiries. Defense attorneys insist that such an act would be “unduly burdensome.” There is also some dispute over whether the inquiries would best be done during the trial. However, Bloom and Rubinowitz say that “represents a continuing effort by these defendants to prevent providing meaningful accounting of their respective roles in the tragic death of Joan Rivers.”

Joan Rivers died of brain damage due to loss of oxygen, according to the medical examiner’s report. The suit claims that the medical team failed to respond properly when River’s vital signs became dangerously low during the routine procedure (esophageal examination to find possible causes of changes in River’s voice).

It further claims that Dr. Cohen took pictures of Dr. Korovin working on Rivers on his cell phone because he thought she would like to see his pictures in the recovery room.


EXCLUSIVE: Doctor who denied taking photos of Joan Rivers in operating room actually did take snapshots, court docs reveal

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