Joan Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, filed a malpractice lawsuit on Monday against the New York medical clinic that treated her mother, days before her death.
Melissa, Rivers’ only child, filed the malpractice case in New York State Supreme Court.
She is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Melissa alleged that doctors in the clinic posed for selfies with their sedated celebrity patient even as her vital signs were plunging.
Rivers, who was 81, suffered a loss of oxygen to her brain on Aug. 28.
The fatal incident occurred while physicians at the Yorkville Endoscopy Centre in Manhattan were performing procedures to examine her throat and vocal cords.
She died a week later at a New York hospital.
Melissa claimed that the doctors were not adequately trained to recognise and deal with the type of emergency airway obstruction suffered by Rivers.
She added that the doctors failed to detect her deteriorating vital signs while she was in their care.
According to the plaintiff, the outpatient clinic allowed a doctor whose presence was unauthorised to twice conduct a procedure that Rivers had not consented to – a trans-nasal laryngoscopy in which a scope is passed through sinus passages into the larynx.
She said that it was during a repeat of that procedure, according to the lawsuit, that Rivers’ already dangerously low blood pressure and heart rate fell further as her airway became so constricted that she could no longer breathe.
Apparently unaware at that point of Rivers’ declining condition, one doctor took out his cell phone and snapped photos of himself with the doctor performing the laryngoscopy on Rivers while she was sedated, Melissa alleged.
As Rivers’ condition grew dire and doctors struggled to restore her breathing, the physician who conducted the laryngoscopy left the room because she knew she was not permitted to be there.
“She wanted to avoid getting caught,” the daughter alleged.
She also said clinic workers were slow in calling 911 for emergency help.
“The level of medical mismanagement, incompetence, disrespect and outrageous behaviour is shocking and frankly, almost incomprehensible,” Melissa said.
According to the suit, Yorkville, its parent company and five physicians are the defendants.
Yorkville Endoscopy declined comment on the lawsuit.
Earlier this month a government health agency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, cited the Yorkville clinic for failing to follow standard protocols during its treatment of Rivers, including some lapses alleged by the lawsuit.
The clinic was given until March to correct its deficiencies or face revocation of its federal accreditation and funding.