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Was Joan Rivers' death caused by an unauthorized biopsy?

The New York State Health Department and New York City Medical Examiners Office are each conducting separate investigations into the death of beloved celebrity Joan Rivers.

The formal inquiries are heavily focused on two issues: Whether Rivers' physician conducted a biopsy without her consent and what anesthesia was administered to her. Since it is a high profile case and authorities generally refrain from discussing details of their investigation, there are a lot of rumors and it's hard to decode what's fact and fiction.

One of the rumors concerns whether Propofol - the same drug involved with Michael Jackson's death - was administered to Rivers. The anesthesia drugs involved and their dosage will be some of the most coveted details of the investigation.

Concerning the biopsy, doctors generally need the consent of a patient before performing procedures. There are exceptions, such as life-or-death situations or when the patient lacks mental capacity to make a decision, but it seems that neither would apply in the Rivers case.

If the biopsy was unauthorized, and was a cause or contributing factor to Rivers' death, then it would seem likely that the physician will bear legal responsibility in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: Examiner, "Joan Rivers Lawsuit Heats Up," Samantha Change, Sept. 28, 2014

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