After weeks of speculation, the cause of Joan Rivers's unexpected death Sept. 4 is finally known: a lack of oxygen to the brain. Rivers had checked herself into the Yorkville Clinic in New York City for an endoscopic procedure Aug. 28 when things went wrong, and malpractice is still a potential issue. Now the New York Chief Medical Examiner's Office has finally announced its findings in a report today.
According to the official findings, the office said in a statement this afternoon:
"The cause of Ms. Rivers's death is anoxic encephalopathy due to hypoxic arrest during laryngoscopy and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. The classification of a death as a therapeutic complication means that the death resulted from a predictable complication of medical therapy."
It went on to further explain that lack of oxygen to Rivers's brain while under Propofol sedation is ultimately what killed her. It is also considered to be a potential risk when having this type of procedure done. It sounds like the real question here is whether or not Rivers's personal EMT was attempting to do a biopsy as has been reported. If so, Rivers had never given signed permission for such a procedure, and that is where her daughter Melissa Rivers has alleged that malpractice occurred.
While Rivers lived a full life even at age 81, her death was unexpected because she had appeared in great health during a performance the night before her scheduled endoscopy. Sources close to her daughter have said there has been talk of filing a malpractice suit almost from the beginning of this situation.
Do you think that, given today's' findings, malpractice will eventually become a real issue? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.