Is Joan Rivers on Life Support? Is Joan Rivers dying?

Joan Rivers will probably not survive this and Melissa Rivers (her daughter) will have to make all the decisions until such time that Joan passes away..  This isn’t Melissa’s first tragedy, but she’s up to the task. [Damien LeGallienne]


This is a possible scenario for the truth about Joan Rivers’ current condition as the world waits to hear about the fate of their beloved comedienne.  She will probably hang in there for a few more days and then she will be put in a private room where she will pass away.

Latest reports say that Joan Rivers is now “resting comfortably” in a medically induced coma.  The phrase “on life support” has been heard. So what does that mean? Here are some answers from Hollywood Insider and scientific writer Dave Matt.     

These are not 100% certain facts as they pertain to Miss Rivers, and not even her doctors know what will ultimately happen,  but I will present a very likely scenario for what is probably happening to Miss Rivers and to what may have happened to her — all the elements that led up to her current status as a patient in New York City’s  Mount Sinai hospital.

Early Thursday 28 August 2014 –  Miss Rivers was put under sedation for what some initially believed to be an ENDOSCOPY — a procedure wherein a tube is placed into the throat to have a look at the stomach and esophagus.  This was assumed because the private outpatient center where she went for this procedure describes itself as “a resource for digestive disorders.” 

Later reports stated that she went there to have her vocal chords examined. That kind of work could have been done in a private surgery suite such as this one where Joan Rivers was taken ill with cardiac arrest.  It’s not a great idea, but it can be done.  

In either case, the place where Joan went is a qualified medical office where many wealthy New Yorkers go for private care when they get minor procedures; chiefly, endoscopy of the stomach and esophagus.

During the procedure, it was reported that Miss Rivers stopped breathing and her heart stopped beating.  This unforeseen complication can happen during any procedure where one is anesthetized to any degree — even in a dentist’s chair.

Sources now say that CPR was applied at the clinic but one can assume that more aggressive means of life sustaining support actually began after paramedics arrived on the scene.

Okay, so here is what may have happened afterwards, and in my opinion is probably what is going on now.

Miss Rivers “failed” during the endoscopic procedure and whatever life saving measures they did there — at that very moment — and how well they worked minute by minute — will determine the ultimate fate of Joan Rivers.

If the doctor or doctors who performed the procedure at the clinic were skilled in emergency medicine and equipped for emergency resuscitation — if they had some, any or little success reviving her, she still may have gone for a considerable length of time without adequate oxygen for her body to maintain function.

The degree of oxygen deprivation depends on the amount of time JOan Rivers went without breathing or someone breathing for her via mouth to mouth or by “bagging.”  The organ most in question and usually the most affected is the brain.

The ambulance that came to take Miss Rivers to Mount Sinai — even under the fastest circumstances — would have taken at least 8-10 minutes.

Upon arrival, the paramedics would have started or initiated resuscitation — perhaps shocking her heart with a defibrillator and breathing for her with a bag or mechanical ventilator while or after they rushed her to the hospital wherein more advanced equipment would be available and her condition could be more thoroughly accessed.

Currently, she is said to be intubated/ventilated — on a breathing machine — and she has been placed in a medically induced coma.

There are many reasons for putting someone in a medically induced coma, but in this case these are some certain possibilities.

She may have suffered brain damage from a lack of oxygen to the brain, and they are watching her neurological signs.  This is very likely.  A deep coma slows down swelling of the injured brain.

Miss Rivers may have suffered some extensive organ damage from the lack of oxygen to her other organs as well, and the best way to keep her body oxygenated and to keep her other organs from failing is to keep her deeply unconscious and on a breathing machine or a (ventilator) with an oxygen content that is much higher than ordinary air.  Her body temperature has also been lowered as this seems to aid in reducing further brain damage.

It is now known that Miss Rivers’ life is indeed being maintained by mechanical means.  She might also have been comatose to begin with and the drug-induced coma serves only to ensure that she is in a totally suspended and “stable” state

Another possibility is that Joan suffered some kind of medical crisis at the private surgery center.  She may have had  a cardiac event and/or stroke or one of the many things that can go wrong with a patient before, during or after any medical procedure.

Miss Rivers is 81 years old, and while her energy and her talent seems eternally energetic, advanced age is not in her favour at this point.  When she is removed from life sustaining equipment — breathing and feeding machines etc — she will either continue to breath on her own for an unknown length of time, or she will expire.  The hospital has not said — and will not say — the extent of the  of brain damage, but neurologists will watch her brain functions with electronic telemetry. If she shows little to no brain function, then removing her from the machines after whatever length of time has been determined by her family will either result in her death or continued life in a yet-to-be-determined condition.

My best guess is that she is currently being held in a “stable” condition while doctors address the issues of how much end organ and/or brain damage, if any, may have occurred during the time when she was either not breathing or her heart was not beating or both.

Is Joan Rivers on life support?  Yes — in a sense — essentially she is totally on life support.  I cannot say if her brain is damaged , but it sounds suspiciously like there must be some degree of suspected brain deficit.

Keep in mind that Joan Rivers was taken to Mount Sinai hospital whilst still unconscious.   This is not to suggest that someone who has a heartbeat restored and is now breathing and beating, simply pops up instantly and becomes awake.  That can happen — mostly in movies — but obviously this is not the case here.  The doctors at the endoscopy clinic did not bring her “back to life.”

Currently the doctors ay Mount Sinai are watching her organ functions.  Kidneys, lungs, brain etc.   Her brain is the main thing thrown into this life or death equation.

The other looming danger here — assuming her brain is okay or somewhat okay — is always the fear of ARDS — Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.   This is what can happen to lungs after oxygen deprivation or trauma to the body or any of its organs.  It is often fatal, but so far ARDS is only something that CAN happen.  At the present time, that issue has not been addressed because her brain function takes top priority.

In the end, the odds would suggest that Miss Rivers was without oxygen for some length of time and this is what they are dealing with now — a brain that has been injured to some extent.

Hopefully she will recover, but the amount of time that has passed suggests that she is only theoretically “stable” having been medically placed in a stable state of “wait and see.”  This is a grim situation.

Her daughter Melissa is by her side making difficult decisions as the doctors do whatever it is they must do in this situation and keep the family informed on her overall prognosis — which is probably very poor at the current time.

The end results will be, partial recovery, full recovery, lingering coma and life support, or death or opting to hasten death by disconnecting her from all manner of life support.  The fact that she will die within the next week to ten days is the most likely scenario.

Melissa Rivers will have to make all the decisions until such time that Joan passes away or she recovers.


Let’s pray that Joan Rivers comes to her rest without any fear or pain.

14 thoughts on “Is Joan Rivers on Life Support? Is Joan Rivers dying?

  1. Thank you for this synopsis of Joan Rivers. I had actually been thinking about what you addressed in this article. I too agree with you. I unfortunately have been down this road many times with family members and it doesn’t sound good for her. All the family can do now is hope for the best and prepare for the worst. What a shame. It once again shows us that life is short, and we all need to live in the moment!

  2. Joan’s legacy may be the importance of a medical directive and a rethinking of the guidelines for so-called routine procedures. She is resilient so if she survives with minimal damage, she will push to recover.

  3. I love you Joanie! If anyone can pull through this it is you my dear! You do so much good for society and so much charity work. I love you so much and am sending positive thoughts your way!

    You can do this!

  4. I love Joan and Melissa. I am praying for them. My mother was on life support for seven months. They were telling us we had a fifteen percent chance that she would pull through. My mother is alive and well. It has been almost ten years. There is always hope! Melissa and Cooper stay strong!

  5. Thank you Damien for the piece you wrote. It doesn’t seem like it’s Joan’s time, but who am I to say? Sending healing prayers to her and also prayers for Melissa and Cooper.

  6. prayers being sent to Joan Rivers and her family. Hope she pulls thru. God speed her health.

  7. Thank u so much for explaining the details which has been posted so far. Praying for her,Melissa & Cooper. Only God knows what is best for Joan. She is a ;strong willed women an I Pray that she comes out of this an Joke about this Near Death experience.
    Get Well Soon Ms. Joan Rivers

  8. Ms Rivers I pray for your full recovery with all my heart. Your spirit, your bees, their symbolism have been such a gift of inspiration to me. You are a treasure to us all. Melissa, I send you prayers of peace and strength. May God’s love comfort you both and be your refuge. May God’s Grace and Healing Encompass you. You will remain in my prayers

  9. Joan was in relatively good health for a person of advanced age but the
    medical community needs to consider age as a factor for risk. If avoidable
    general anesthesia should not be used and if avoidable these procedures should not be regarded as harmless to people of any age. They can be helpful and used only after other avenues have been exhausted. Perhaps they were examining her for acid reflux which can be painful but I am not familiar with “vocal cord” problems. Your analysis of what happened is accurate.How many people have to die from unnecessary procedures and being anesthetized?As patients we must ask our doctors questions and not accept
    being treated like pieces of meat. Do your research and don’t follow blindly. Doctors are only human and make many mistakes. Some only care
    about the money. I’ve had some horrendous experiences with greedy doctors.
    I’m hoping for a miracle for this great woman and praying for her recovery.
    The world would be a sadder place without her.God bless and hold you in
    the palm of his hand.

  10. Oh dear Joan, a Wonderful Brave And Courageous Lady. I do hope you get well
    and are able to fully continue your wonderful life as a comedienne.
    I will pray for you and Melissa and Wish You Both Well.
    Blessings to both of you.
    Norma Jean Gordon

  11. Thank you for the best clarification anywhere online, of such an unfortunate situation. I love Joan and I wish the very best for her and her family.

  12. I cannot believe that a Dr. would do a procedure on an 81 year old person in an office setting without having back up emergency equipment available if necessary and without having medical staff trained for an emergency. At 81 no procedure with anesthesia involved should be considered routine. I wish Joan, Melissa and her family a full and speedy recovery. j.

  13. Joan Rivers did the ice bucket challenge a couple days before her cardiac event . Why is this not been considered as a partial cause of her going into cardiac arrest two days later.

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