Why Joan Rivers Didn't Have to Die

by 3:58 PM PST, November 11, 2014
Playing Why Joan Rivers Didn't Have to Die

ET breaks down the new report that criticizes the clinic where Joan Rivers had surgery.

Among the mistakes, investigators report that the clinic failed to get Joan's informed consent for each procedure performed and "failed to identify deteriorating vital signs." The report also claims that a staff member "proceeded to take pictures of the surgeon and the patient with his cell phone."

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ET has confirmed that Joan's daughter Melissa is planning to sue the clinic. Her attorney released a statement, saying, "Ms. Rivers is outraged by the misconduct and mismanagement now shown to have occurred before, during and after the procedure."

According to The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner's (OCME) investigation, the official cause of Joan's death was anoxic encephalopathy (brain damage) due to hypoxic arrest (a decrease in oxygen to the brain) during surgery -- a laryngoscopy and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.

The report also revealed that Joan was under propofol sedation during the procedure. Michael Jackson died from a fatal dose of propofol in 2009.

We asked Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician that was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson's death, if there were any other comparisons to be made between the deaths of Michael and Joan.

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"Not really," said Murray. "[Joan] seemed to have received about 300 milligrams of propofol within one minute, and I think that that would not be correct."

Joan's death was classified as a "therapeutic complication," which means that the death officially resulted from a predictable complication of medical therapy.

The legendary comedienne underwent a routine endoscopy in August to evaluate changes in her voice and to deal with acid reflux. She was placed in a medically induced coma after going into cardiac arrest and passed away a week later. She was 81.