Clinic Denies Daily News Report of Joan Rivers Biopsy

The clinic where Joan Rivers stopped breathing during a minor throat procedure last month categorically denied a Daily News report Wednesday that alleged a doctor who traveled with the late comedian performed an impromptu biopsy that caused her vocal cords to seize up and cut off her air supply. 

"A biopsy of the vocal cords has never been performed at Yorkville Endoscopy," a spokesperson for the clinic said in a statement. "General anesthesia has never been administered at Yorkville Endoscopy. The type of sedation used at Yorkville Endoscopy is monitored anesthesia care."

The clinic's statement did not reference Rivers specifically because patient confidentiality laws prevent it from disclosing information about patients.

The News, citing a medical source familiar with the case, had alleged earlier Wednesday that a doctor who traveled with the 81-year-old Rivers came with her to the clinic Aug. 28. The paper said the source said a doctor at the clinic noticed "something on Rivers' vocal cords," and the doctor who traveled with Rivers allegedly asked to use the facility's instruments and conducted a biopsy, which involves the removal of body tissue to examine medical conditions.

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The News report said that alleged impromptu procedure caused Rivers' vocal cords to seize up. She went into cardiac arrest a short time later. 

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New York health officials opened an investigation Thursday into the clinic where Joan Rivers stopped breathing during surgery. Pei-Sze Cheng has the story.

Rivers died Thursday surrounded by family and close friends at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, her daughter Melissa Rivers said. A private, star-studded funeral was held at Temple Emanu-El on Sunday. A spokesperson for Rivers declined to comment to the News.

New York City medical examiners reviewed the comedian's death and said that further tests would be needed to determine why she died.

Yorkville Endoscopy is accredited by the the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities. The association said it was investigating the facility's accreditation. 

The state health department has also said it's investigating the clinic, and is examining documents and medical records, observing the facility, and interviewing staff members and doctors to make sure the center is complying with state health regulations. 

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