For example, did the healthcare personnel warn Joan Rivers of the risks involved in any procedure when one is over-80?
What is the standard level of care and was that maintained?
How were the patient's vital signs monitored?
What actions and how quickly were they taken when she stopped breathing?
What were the types and quality of care by emergency personnel?
What we do know, and what is probably sending a chill through all parts of the medical community, is that the family is now considering legal action. Enterprising lawyers are likely figuring out how they can configure a package of services briefing healthcare workers about the liability of treating the geriatric patient. Obviously, there is a need to practice defensive medicine. Should, for example, the healthcare provider have recommended (and maybe that was done) that Rivers not undergo any elective procedure and, then, refused to perform any (which was not done)?
The Daily News, tracking this developing story, notes that there is a possibility that the comic's "motor skills may be compromised." Instead of a happy ending to this emergency, Rivers could wind up a vegetable or in a wheelchair. Here is the Daily News coverage.
Rivers now becomes a possible legal story. If there is litigation, it could become a seminal case in geriatric medicine. The end results could include a dramatic fall-off in the number of medical doctors willing to have those over-65 as patients.