Joan Rivers Reportedly Had Unplanned Throat Biopsy, Causing Her to Stop Breathing

Rivers died Sept. 4 after what was to be a routine procedure

Joan Rivers had an unplanned throat biopsy that caused her to stop breathing and ultimately led to her death, The New York Daily News is reporting, citing an anonymous medical source.

Rivers had originally gone to Yorkville Endoscopy to undergo a routine vocal cord surgery. The Daily News source says a doctor, who was part of Rivers' entourage, volunteered to perform the biopsy after another doctor spotted something on Rivers' vocal cords.

According to the source, Rivers' vocal cords seized during the biopsy and she stopped breathing. The source adds such procedures are generally only performed at hospitals, and Rivers might have recovered had she been in a hospital when it occurred.

Rivers died Sept. 4, a week after the procedure.

Yorkville Endoscopy and Rivers' rep did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

But in a statement obtained by Reuters and other media outlets, Yorkville Endoscopy denied ever conducting a vocal cord biopsy.

"A biopsy of the vocal cords has never been performed at Yorkville Endoscopy," the clinic said, according to Reuters, in the first statement it has released since Rivers was rushed to the hospital.

Calls to Yorkville Endoscopy Thursday morning went unanswered.

The New York Police Department had been investigating Rivers' death, a police source told The Hollywood Reporter over the weekend.

But Wednesday, a police source told THR that the NYPD was no longer looking into it.

On Sept. 5, the New York City's Medical Examiner's office told THR Rivers' autopsy was "pending further studies."

The New York State Department of Health has launched its own investigation into Rivers' death.

Sept. 11, 6:53 a.m. This story has been updated with Yorkville Endoscopy's statement to Reuters and other media outlets and to note the end of the NYPD's investigation into Rivers' death.


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