Rivers had gone to the clinic for a scheduled endoscopy to help diagnose her hoarse voice
Disturbing details about the tragic death of Joan Rivers are beginning to emerge.
An unauthorized biopsy of Rivers’s throat – reportedly done without the comic’s prior consent – was allegedly conducted by her personal physician, who also took a selfie while Rivers was under anesthesia, reports CNN.
According to the news station, a source close to Rivers’s death investigation claims that a staff member at Manhattan’s Yorkville Endoscopy clinic told investigators that a doctor, who has yet to be publicly identified, took a selfie photo in the procedure room while Rivers was under anesthesia.
Moreover, the source told CNN that the cardiac arrest that led to the beloved comedian’s stunning death at 81 occurred when the doctor, described by the source as Rivers’s personal ear-nose-throat physician (and a doctor who was not certified by the clinic as required by law), performed an unauthorized biopsy on her vocal cords.
Asked by PEOPLE on Wednesday if the ear-nose-throat doctor took a selfie of Joan Rivers while she was under anesthesia, a spokesperson for Yorkville Endoscopy replied, “Yorkville has said and still says that a biopsy of the vocal cords was never attempted or done at its site ever. HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] laws prevent us from disclosing any information about patients or their procedures.”
In addition, the New York State Department of Health, in a statement to PEOPLE, said, “The State Department of Health s investigation is ongoing. As this is an open investigation, DOH cannot comment on any specifics regarding the investigation.”
Rivers had gone to the clinic on the morning of Aug. 29 for a scheduled endoscopy by another doctor, gastroenterologist Dr. Lawrence Cohen, for a procedure intended to help diagnose her hoarse voice and sore throat.
At some time during the procedure, Rivers stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest.
She was laid to rest Sept. 7 in a star-studded, laughter-filled funeral.
• Additional reporting by K.C. BAKER