Medical Examiner: Joan Rivers’ Death Caused By Low Blood Oxygen


Joan Rivers on life support

Joan Rivers died from low blood oxygen during a routine medical procedure to check out voice changes and reflux, the medical examiner’s office ruled Thursday.

The 81-year-old comedienne passed away Sept. 4 after being hospitalized for about a week , after going into cardiac arrest during the procedure at a doctor’s office.

The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner released the results of their investigation into Rivers’ death today, saying that the “death resulted from a predictable complication of medical therapy”.

The report states:

“OCME [Office of the Chief Medical Examiner] has completed its investigation,” reads the statement from spokeswoman Julie Bolcer. “The cause of Ms. Rivers’ death is anoxic encephalopathy due to hypoxic arrest during laryngoscopy and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with propofol sedation for evaluation of voice changes and gastroesophageal reflux disease. The manner of death is therapeutic complication. The classification of a death as a therapeutic complication means that the death resulted from a predictable complication of medical therapy.”

Rivers died on Sept. 4 at the age of 81, following a minor throat procedure at Yorkville Endoscopy in NYC on Aug. 28. Her friends called the surgery a “diagnostic procedure [to] see why her voice had gotten raspy”.

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Joan had agreed to the endoscopy, but not an unplanned throat biopsy, during which she stopped breathing.

She was put into a medically induced coma and then, two days later, placed on life support. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, then made the difficult decision to remove her mother from life support.

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