The 81-year-old comedian would likely be wheelchair bound and may have great difficulty speaking and even feeding herself, according to medical references.
Rivers was brought out of a medically induced coma Aug. 31, but has not regained consciousness and is only breathing with the help of life support.
Doctors are expected to try turning off her life support this week to see if she can breathe on her own. Doctors will also be looking for signs of life.
Involuntary eye movement, the ability of the eye’s retina to fix on an object, or the vocalization of any word suggests a 50 percent chance for some kind of recovery, according to one study.
She will also be tested to see if she responds to pain and other external stimulus.
If doctors don’t see any of those signs or she can’t breathe on her own, they are likely to conclude she is brain dead.
Rivers was placed in a medically induced coma Aug. 28 after going into cardiac and respiratory arrest during routine throat surgery. The procedure is considered a “last ditch” option to curb or prevent brain damage.
Rivers was being treated at Yorkville Endoscopy in Manhattan when the medical crisis began. Her family reportedly is considering filing a malpractice lawsuit against the clinic, a source told The New York Daily News.
“The night before, she was performing and now she is on life support. An 81-year-old should not have that procedure as an outpatient. Very ill-advised,” the source said.
Melissa Rivers her family and friends are holding a grim vigil at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital, where Joan is confined.
“The waking-up process has begun and will take until Tuesday,” said the source.
“There is real concern that the part of the brain that controls motor skills may have been compromised, leaving her as either a vegetable or in a wheelchair.”
As TheImproper previously reported, Joan’s advanced age substantially reduces her chances of regaining consciousness and returning to health.
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