back to top

Doctor Who Performed Procedure On Joan Rivers No Longer Head Of Clinic

Dr. Lawrence Cohen, who performed the throat surgery on Rivers that triggered her cardiac arrest, is no longer the medical director at Yorkville Endoscopy.

Posted on

Cohen, a well-known gastroenterologist, was performing the endoscopy on Rivers when she stopped breathing and died a week later after being put on life support at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

The Yorkville Endoscopy clinic told ABC News that Cohen "is not currently performing procedures at Yorkville Endoscopy; nor is he currently serving as medical director." The clinic did not specify why he was asked to step down.

Cohen is also listed as a clinical professor of medicine at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

A source told ABC News that Cohen could have been asked to step down for bringing in this unauthorized specialist to be present during Rivers' procedure.

The specialist examined Rivers' voice box to check for abnormalities before and after Cohen performed an upper endoscopy, the New York Times reported.

From the Times:

When the E.N.T. arrived, she was identified as an observer, not a doctor. She carried a bag, according to one of the people briefed, and the clinic staff members who saw her entering the operating room assumed that she was a makeup artist there to help make Ms. Rivers look her best after the operation.

The clinic refused to disclose any information about Rivers' surgery. The facility is being investigated by the New York State Health Department.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Dr. Lawrence Cohen and Mt. Sinai Hospital for comment.

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.