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Melissa Rivers ‘Saddened’ Over Mom Joan Rivers’ Autopsy Findings

Joan Rivers lived for the red carpet. She's pictured here with daughter Melissa at the  77th Annual Academy Awards. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

Joan Rivers,pictured with daughter Melissa, died from lack of oxygen to the brain. Her death may have been preventable. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

Melissa Rivers, the daughter of late comedian Joan Rivers, released a terse statement last night (Oct. 16) expressing continued sadness following the release of an autopsy report that suggested her mother’s death may have been preventable.

“In response to NYC’s Medical examiner’s report, we continue to be saddened by our tragic loss. No further comment at this time,” she said over Twitter.

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The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released the final report of its investigation yesterday and attributed Joan Rivers’ death to “anoxic encephalopathy,” a medical term for lack of oxygen to the brain.

At the time, Rivers was undergoing a “laryngoscopy” and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to determine the cause of a hoarseness in her voice and examine problems with acid reflux.

The report went on to say that the manner of death was caused by a “therapeutic complication.”

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“The classification of a death as a therapeutic complication means that the death resulted from a predictable complication of medical therapy,” according to a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter by OCME spokewoman Julie Bolcer.

The report raises the question of whether medical incompetence led to her death. Rivers was otherwise in good health when she went in for the procedure at Yorkville Endoscopy, a private outpatient clinic in Manhattan.

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The comedian stopped breathing during the procedure Aug. 28 and was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital where she was put on life support in a medically-induced coma. She died a week and a half later.

The clinic is under investigation by state authorities and some speculation has focused on the culpability of doctors who were involved. The procedure was reportedly completed when Joan suffered brain damage, gossip site TMZ reported, citing a source.

At issue is whether her oxygen levels were being properly monitored, the site reported.

For the latest updates on the case, be sure to follow IM on Twitter.


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