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Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Lesson of Joan Rivers' Death

Joan Rivers has died at age 81, according to multiple news sources out of New York, and the family has confirmed this.

There is a lesson in her death. It was not, by my account, a natural passing. She died as a likely result of her body's inability to withstand the strain of general anesthesia. There may be a valid question as to the quality of her underlying health. 

(In fairness, there has been no autopsy, no release of private records, so this is reasoned speculation.  It is now reported by the Wall Street Journal that the Manhattan clinic at which her vocal cord surgery was performed will be investigated by the New York State Department of Health. There is also the possibility of a medical malpractice lawsuit.) 

One should never confuse "thinness" with health, not at any age. In fact, in earlier times and really not until recently with the modern concept equating thinness and health, being thin was really a synonym for being frail, and that was certainly not considered a sign of good health.  Of course, morbid obesity is a serious health risk.

Nonetheless, I suspect Joan Rivers would still be with us had she elected not to have this elective surgery.

The lesson here: No surgery is simple. Not when general anesthesia is involved.

Eric Dixon is neither a doctor nor a medical malpractice lawyer. Nothing here is intended to be legal advice or to serve as a legal opinion. This is an opinion piece from which no inferences should be drawn. Inquiries should be directed to

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