Joan Rivers died after doctor went rogue

Sep 10, 2014 at 1:09 p.m. ET

The clinic that did Joan Rivers' throat procedure also performed an irregular biopsy when doctors saw something suspicious on her vocal cords.

Rivers' routine surgery turned fatal when doctors at Yorkville Endoscopy decided to perform an unplanned biopsy on her throat that should have been done in a hospital, the New York Daily News reported. While the esteemed comedian was having the routine endoscopy, doctors found something on her vocal cords, so her private doctor decided he'd do a biopsy on it right there at the clinic.

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As he was doing the questionable procedure, Rivers' vocal cords shut down in what is called a laryngospasm, which cut off her respiration, and then her heart stopped. The late star never resumed breathing on her own after she was taken to the hospital and placed in an induced coma, dying just a few days later.

Joan Rivers cause of death under investigation
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The Fashion Police host was set for what her friends called a "diagnostic procedure," but didn't sign any papers to have a biopsy done at the clinic. The Daily News added that the facility should have not let Rivers' doctor use their instruments and allow him to do the biopsy. "He asked and they let him, a huge no-no," a source told the paper.

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Had the biopsy procedure been done in a hospital, Rivers "might have been OK," the source added. "A biopsy like that should only be done in a hospital setting." A hospital would be better equipped to do the procedure — which was to determine whether the suspicious find on her vocal cords was a cancerous mass — and would be prepared for complications such as the one Rivers encountered with her breathing.

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Meanwhile, after many protests and fan outcries, Broadway decided to honor Rivers by dimming the lights Wednesday night after all.

"Joan Rivers loved Broadway and we loved her," Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League said in a statement. "Due to the outpouring of love and respect for Joan Rivers from our community and from her friends and fans worldwide, the marquees of Broadway theaters in New York will be dimmed in her memory tonight, at exactly 6:45 p.m. for one minute."