Coroners office releases Donda Wests autopsy results
Shirley Hawkins | 1/16/2008, 5 p.m.
The Los Angeles Coroner's Office indicated Thursday that although their findings were inconclusive, it is believed that Dr. Donda West, the mother of rapper Kanye West, died from coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative factors after undergoing liposuction and mammoplasty.
West, who underwent a tummy tuck, liposuction, and breast reduction on November 10, died after a nearly six-hour operation at a surgical center in Brentwood. The Brentwood clinic had arranged for West to be monitored at a post-operative care facility, but West insisted on going home after her surgery. West was being cared for by her nephew, a nurse with an advanced degree in public health. The nephew and other caregivers stayed with West the first night after her surgery. West reported that she was suffering from pain and took Vicodin. By 4 p.m., West's throat and chest were hurting and her skin was warm to the touch.
By the time she went to bed at 5 p.m., the coroner's report said that West was cold, clammy and breathing heavily.
West was rushed to Centinela Freeman Medical Center at 8:20 p.m. where she was pronounced dead later that evening.
The coroner's report said that West's arteries were 50 to 70 percent blocked and one coronary artery was hardening with plaque, which are risk factors for a heart attack.
According to the coroner's office, West had been diagnosed as a diabetic with obesity as well as with hypertension.
Due to her heart problems, Dr. Michael F. McGuire, vice president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and an associate clinical professor at UCLA, said that West should have undergone specialized cardiology tests to determine whether she was fit for surgery.
At the time, West's death was ruled inconclusive because the final manner of death could not be determined. "There was no evidence of a surgical or anesthetic misadventure," said Assistant Chief Coroner Investigator Ed Winter in a telephone interview with Our Weekly. "Donda West had some preexisting heart problems, but we could not find anything surgically that was wrong. If we do an autopsy and we can't figure out what occurred, we will continue to test to try to get a cause," said Winter, who said that it normally takes six to eight weeks to complete an autopsy.
"We are satisfied with the results, and they will become a matter of public record," said Winter.
After West's death, a media circus erupted surrounding the circumstances of her death.
The coroner's report indicates that there was no evidence that the death had been caused by a mistake in surgery or anesthesia, which vindicates her surgeon, Dr. Jan Adams.