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Joan Rivers's Personal Voice Doctor Denies Accusations She Fled Endo Clinic

Accusations fly about what really happened when the routine endoscopy took a turn for the worse.

Published: January 29, 2015

Dr. Gwen KorovinNot so fast, says Gwen Korovin, MD, the ENT physician who's been accused of panicking and fleeing from Yorkville Endoscopy on Manhattan's Upper East Side when things went horribly wrong during what was supposed to be a routine upper endoscopy performed on Joan Rivers.

Dr. Korovin, the comedian's personal throat doctor, claims that she was the last physician in the room after Ms. Rivers was taken away in an ambulance, according to a published report.

The she-said, she-said finger-pointing continues as rumors and accusations swirl around the entertainer's death, and it looks like the wait will continue for the truth to emerge about what really happened on that day in late August of last year before Ms. Rivers was eventually taken off life support and died on Sept. 4 at Mount Sinai Hospital.

As we reported earlier this week, the comedian's daughter Melissa Rivers has filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against Yorkville Endoscopy and her mother's caregivers for what she considers unfathomable negligence in care.

In the lawsuit, anesthesiologist Renuka Bankulla, MD, who was working the procedure, accused Dr. Korovin of bolting after repeated attempts to revive Ms. Rivers failed. Dr. Bankulla's attorney, Jeffrey Bloom, says his client authored a 5-page, handwritten note that is part of Ms. Rivers's chart from Yorkville Endoscopy. He says the note clearly states that when the tracheostomy kit arrived, Dr. Bankulla looked for Dr. Korovin to perform a tracheostomy, but she could not be located in the procedure room.

William Lewis, Dr. Korovin's attorney, says that simply isn't true. He told the New York Times that his client never left the room during the ordeal. It was the first time Dr. Korovin's representatives have commented publicly about the case.

"Why would anyone doubt this statement?" asks Mr. Bloom. "Furthermore, if Dr. Korovin was still in the procedure room, why didn't she, as an airway specialist, assist. And when she saw no one willing to perform the tracheostomy, step in and perform it herself?"

Mr. Lewis did not immediately respond to a request for additional insights.

Daniel Cook

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