Facebook is where TMZ grabbed a pair of large photos to run with its Wednesday exclusive identifying a New York ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist as the doctor allegedly responsible for initiating an unauthorized biopsy procedure on Joan Rivers at Yorkville Endoscopy. Today, that same Facebook page is blank.
The 24/7 drumbeat of online gossip sites and social media has pushed us into a new phase of American jurisprudence – “Guilty Until Proven Innocent.” Even though there is still much to be determined and confirmed by investigators, half the world is calling for this individual’s head. People can still comment to the blanked-out Facebook page and one California doctor is espousing the minority view:
Michio Abe: I’m here for you Dr. Gwen Korovin. I’m simply here to stand beside you because there is zero evidence that you did anything to cause Joan Rivers’ death but yet your FB page has been so full of hatred towards doctors in general. We, doctors, do not deserve that kind of treatment. No, not at all.
In the wake of the TMZ item, Radar Online has suggested that the doctor has gone into hiding and that others at Yorkville Endoscopy were “stunned” by the alleged selfie snap. Although Radar does not have the lightning-rod photo, this did not stop the site from click-baiting with the headline “Disgusting! Joan Rivers Doc Gwen Korovin’s Sick Selfie EXPOSED — Last Photo Of Comic Icon, When She Was Under Anesthesia, At Center Of Medical Investigation.”
Update (6:15 p.m.):
A subsequent TMZ exclusive is throwing cold water on the framing of Korovin as Dr. Evil:
Sources closely connected with the doctor say ENT specialist Dr. Gwen Korovin has made it clear… She says the CNN story is absolutely wrong. The network reported a staff member at Yorkville Endoscopy clinic told investigators the doctor took the [selfie] pic. Our Korovin sources say… The network’s source is “making up lies.”
We’re also told the doctor has made it clear… She did NOT perform a biopsy on Joan. We pressed to find out if she performed some other procedure… We did not get an answer.
Update (September 20):
It may not have been a biopsy after all. Per a follow-up CNN report by Alan Duke and Susan Candiotti, Korovin allegedly bracketed the clinic’s scheduled, approved procedure with something different:
Several clinic workers told investigators that it began with Korovin performing a laryngoscopy, which involves using a device to view a patient’s vocal folds.
Gastroenterologist Dr. Lawrence Cohen, who was the medical director of the clinic until resigning after Rivers’ death, then performed an endoscopy intended to diagnose why she was suffering a sore throat and hoarseness, the source said. Cohen detected something of concern, the source said.
Korovin then began a second laryngoscopy to again view River’s vocal cords, the source said. It was at that time that her vocal cords began to swell, leading to a cutoff of oxygen to her lungs and ultimately to cardiac arrest, according to the source.
Also, even though Korovin has categorically denied claims she took a selfie during all this, CNN’s source maintains that she did, for the sort of reason that we always assumed if true – e.g., that it was done as a joke, to be later shared privately with the comedienne:
Clinic workers told investigators they heard Korovin make a statement to the effect that Rivers “will think this is funny” or “would love this” as she took the photo, the source said.