Coroner sites surgical or anesthesia in death of Donda West


Kanye West's 30th Birthday

Hat Tip: The Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles County coroner launched an investigation Tuesday into the death of rap star Kanye West’s mother, who received cosmetic surgery from a prominent Brentwood doctor a day before she died.

The development came the same day the coroner’s office completed a preliminary autopsy, which concluded that Donda West, 58, died “as a result of surgery or anesthesia.”
Dr. Jan Adams
Earlier this year, her doctor, Jan Adams, was served with a complaint from the Medical Board of California and state attorney general’s office seeking to revoke or suspend his medical license. The officials cited his multiple criminal convictions for alcohol-related offenses since 2003.

Adams has also recorded at least two major medical malpractice settlements totaling nearly half a million dollars and has been sued by several patients in other cases, court records show.

Adams is a high-profile doctor who has appeared on such TV shows as “Oprah” and “Extra” and hosted his own plastic surgery show on the Discovery Health Channel.

West arrived Friday morning at Adams’ Wilshire Boulevard office for the cosmetic surgery. The operation lasted 5 1/2 hours, after which she was sent home, according to the coroner’s office.

A day later, paramedics rushed an unconscious West from her home to a Marina del Rey hospital, where she died, said an official with Centinela Freeman HealthSystem.

Coroner’s officials said the investigation will include examining medical records, conducting interviews and reviewing West’s medical history.

West’s family declined to discuss the death, and it was unclear what type of plastic surgery she had. But a Beverly Hills surgeon said through his spokesperson Monday that West had approached him months ago about having cosmetic surgery. He said he never performed the procedure because of an undisclosed preexisting condition that might result in a heart attack.

Adams issued a statement though his spokesman, Kevin Williams, saying he sympathized with the West family but would not discuss details of the case.

“I first want to express my deepest condolences to the West family at a very difficult time,” the statement said. “Out of respect for the West family and in the absence of other verifiable information, any comment from me without first discussing that information with the family would be unprofessional.”

Adams is not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, though state law permits medical doctors like him to perform plastic surgery even without board certification.

According to state medical board records, Adams graduated from the Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1985. He was licensed to begin practicing medicine in California in July 1992.

In the last decade, Adams became a regular on the talk show circuit, discussing plastic surgery on morning television,CNN and E! Most recently, he hosted the Discovery Health Channel show “Plastic Surgery: Before and After.”

Adams also sells a line of cosmetics called Dr. Jan Adams’ Women of Color. The products include skin brighteners, skin lighteners, facial cleansers and microdermabrasion treatments.

On his website, Adams says he has focused his career on “the problems of today’s women of color. Women of color age differently from Caucasian women and have unique skin concerns, such as hyperpigmentation, scarring and blotchy skin. Dr. Adams helps Women of color take the anxiety out of choosing the best products for their skin.”

Adams faces an upcoming hearing on the possible revocation or suspension of his license.

In their six-page complaint, the medical board and state attorney general’s office cited three convictions for alcohol-related offenses. In 2003, according to board documents, Adams pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He lost control of his car and struck a parked vehicle, the documents say, and was placed on three years’ probation.

On March 31, 2006, California Highway Patrol officers pulled Adams over while he was speeding on the 10 Freeway near La Brea Avenue, according to the complaint. CHP officers found that he was driving without a valid driver’s license and that he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.10%, above the state’s legal limit of 0.08%, the complaint says.

Adams pleaded no contest to driving with a suspended license, and a jury found him guilty of driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or greater, according to the complaint. He was ordered to serve four days in County Jail, be placed on probation for five years, perform 45 days of highway cleanup service, participate in an 18-month alcohol treatment and counseling program and attend 60 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Adams has also been sued several times for malpractice. In 2001, he was hit with a pair of malpractice settlements in Los Angeles County Superior Court totaling $467,337, records show.

Gina Cloud, who received one of the settlements, said Adams botched a surgery to remove excess skin around her navel. She said she got a $217,000 civil settlement against him, which she said he has never paid.

Cloud, 46, of Pacific Palisades, said Adams convinced her that he could surgically correct his initial mistake, which left her with an unsightly scar. Each time, she said, her problem worsened. After his fourth attempt, Cloud said, she sought help elsewhere.

Cloud, who hosts an Internet radio show on women’s issues, said she was saddened to hear of West’s death.

“It’s tragic,” she said in an interview.

Patient Teana Lucas sued Adams in 2005 for medical malpractice and sexual battery. An aspiring actress and model, Lucas said that she began discussing liposuction with Adams and that he performed the procedure on her upper arms and stomach Nov. 18, 2004. Later, she claimed in her lawsuit, he had sex with her while she was incapacitated by painkillers and alcohol. Her lawsuit also alleged malpractice for a subsequent surgery to remove a “fat pad” from under her chin, a procedure that she claims was bungled.

Lucas’ lawyer said that the case was settled but that he was barred from divulging details by a confidentiality agreement.


12 thoughts on “Coroner sites surgical or anesthesia in death of Donda West

  1. When I saw that the doctor was a Brother, I shook my head.

    You know that Kanye and his mother probably chose him, because he was a Brother. He probably thought the guy would take better care of her; he had a better comfort level with him. You know that’s probably true.

    Kanye will be haunted by this, because it was ELECTIVE surgery.

    I have been telling folks for awhile that we don’t take plastic surgery seriously.

    WHen I heard that another surgeon had turned her down, my heart sank. It literally sank for the family.

    Then, I heard that this Brother was on television; I bet that also added a comfort level -because, how could a network put their seal of approval behind him, if he weren’t on the right track?

    All in all, my heart aches for Kanye, because this basically was about vanity, and in the end, vanity wasn’t worth losing his beloved mother.

    That’s why you have to love yourself, as is. My father told me when I was a child: ” Don’t fool yourself; there’s NO SUCH THING as minor surgery. If they cut you, it’s serious.”

    Let this be a cautionary tale for folk. You have to INVESTIGATE, INVESTIGATE, INVESTIGATE anyone that is going to be cutting you up. Get on the internet; call up the agencies that record lawsuits. Know who’s cutting on you.

  2. I don’t get it; when you have any type of surgery, you don’t get sent home to recuperate. They keep you in the hospital for at least 72 hours to observe you and make sure you’re recovering from being cut open.

    I had a fibroid embolism two years ago. Even though it was minor surgery (a small cut in the groin to run a cathether to the fibroid), Kaiser kept me in the hospital for 36 hours before they sent me home. And the fibroid surgery I had was minimally invasive, and I was up and around within 10 days, but they still put me in the hospital for a full day and a half to observe me for complications.

    Donda West had a tummy tuck and breast reduction surgery. No way in hell she should have been sent home to recover from major surgery.

    First, Kanye is going to grieve, big time. Next, he’s got the best lawyer on speed dial, because his mother was sent home after major surgery, when she should have been in Cedars-Sinai for at least 10 days.

    Gross incompetence to go around here, people. And, yeah, Rikyrah, my heart sank when I saw her surgeon was a brotha – just like our hearts sank when we found out that the Beltway Sniper back in ’02 was a brotha.

    Cosmetic surgery (unless your breasts are so big they are health risking) is elective, and unless your health is at risk, I’m succumbing to gravity, and try to take care of whatever I can keep propped up until the Lawd calls me home!

  3. Andrea

    In our community it is shunned upon to speak negatively about the deceased. People I know really felt uncomfortable discussing this issue because what they wanted to say was not favorable. However I think a lot of it is part our own internal guilts for acceptance or feeling that we may have some contribution to this crazy obsession our own people have bought into to not look as authentic and for some worse, authentically Black, as they naturally are.

    Kanye exported images of this culture and there is just too much sheer irony. He promoted this very industry at blame of his mother’s death. I know he is feeling this right now. There is no way he could not having had supported all things superficial and constantly contradictory. I understand him but that does not give me a pass to grant him even at this time.

    The truth hurts and at this moment even I fell apprehensive dispelling my views. This is our cultural blasphemy in speaking out against the revered dead.

    But I believe a year or so ago it was Kanye that told the media that he and his male friends sought out MUTTS, a nickname they made to describe mixed-heritage girls that were somewhat Black in genetic composition of their mix. And eventhough he was honest and appreciate that about him, he contributed to this insatiable problem of ethic appeasement. As I read it, Kanye hurt me. Eventhough I had no romantic interest or rock-star fantasies of ever hooking up with him, he made me feel rejected as a Black Woman who never would have been good enough for him in my natural state. He was audacious and unapologetic and I wondered how that viewpoint and practice he and his co-horts believed and executed against their own Sisters was not conclusively the denial of their own very Brown, big lipped, and kinky-haired Mothers, Aunts, Sisters, and relatives.

    I was at peace that Kanye had the moral courage to be honest because I knew what he said was a practiced belief our own Generation X and Y athletes, businessman, and celebrity males practiced in choosing a mate. They chose mixed-race looking counter-parts to keep their Black Card when they really wanted a White looking woman, as opposed to someone that even looked like themselves.

    When I read that he said that I wondered what his mother thought when she heard it. How could that not break her heart? How could he deny her by expressing he choose mates that looked nothing like her natural genetic traits and he purposedly did it? How did any of his family and friends stomach this admittance? Were they going to exonerate him because he was “Kanye” and exempt of duty and responsible or were they going to excuse him because he is male and duty and responsible to brown colored Sistas that don’t look like mixed-race is not a criteria in the Black Community overall.

    I saw that only Essence could denounce it was a ludicrous statement. Always powerless and full of crap, I knew Essence had no proactive alternative but to pick on him. Nothing more fruitful in evolution would come from them to Kanye or of Kanye and his value system fortified by a supposedly esteemed and statused Black Women. Still Kanye got away with not being held accountable and neither the person who shaped his value system or tolerated it’s shape, his mother. Again it was the prime opportunity for a more advanced conversation of these issues that we as a people don’t effectively talk about, flesh out, or truly understand.

    I knew Kanye did not know he was hurting millions of Sistas worldwide when and if they read the comment, but I did know he had to know that he had to hurt his mother’s feeling if she was a completely evolved woman that showed vulnerability to her son. Considering how considerable astute he was about the psychological complexiities of our people’s issues, I knew he could sense multi-dimensional articulation in others.

    I can’t speak for his mother though because I never heard her rhymes or read her book but I noticed things that were visually astounding a few months ago about her appearance with the super-elongated and brightly colored hair extensions that in contrast to her age and status of higher-level education spoke volumes for her present ideology this past year. The visual outlook she recently displayed was of an older woman that didn’t want to be “old” and it was so obvious mixed like oil and water only to continually separate to show the ironies. Still I have never spoken to her to completely confirm my assumptions for judgement.

    Because we respect others’ civil liberties and their fundamental rights to almost do, say, and think whatever, I offered her that conditional respect of not having the evidence of truly knowing her by keeping my disdainful feelings about her prior choices to myself. I respected the presumable age anxieties I know I am feeling and I younger than her and I wanted to honor her freedoms to not impose my value judgements. But I say now that I found out in the past few days so many people noticed the same ironies and felt the same sentiments.

    Everyone just bit their tongue and hid their shame, resentment, and embarrassment of caring that much about a celebrity mom probably going through an age crisis or what also we presumed of Black person who had the fortunance of long-term opportunity in advanced education of the sciences and humanities wanting to assimilate to Hollywood standards in crisis. We understood and simply, no one likes speaking about negativity tied to someone revered.

    Eventhough she led a life that was in some ways marginal, others who value positions, titles, and status would consider her heroic as an administrator at a Black university. Our bars of measure are so screwed and illegitimately unbalanced. Our bars are in desperate need of calibration in this very celebrity-induced and need for hero-worship culture. To some being an educator seems selfless and to some like me who was among educators and had to deal with them, I know that it is a trade that is perpetually gifted pity accolades for all sides to feel good in giving it and for those receiving it.

    Also with our need post-Civil Rights to absolve and find redemptive value in our actualized personal existences in modern day America, we offer many people adoration because of proxy and proximity while purposely exempting fair and proper measure in fair and balanced judgement. Since we need so much to try to keep up the score we suppress judgement calls on some of own so that the ideological (whole) team fairs better with what we perceive is sufficency in our members. We know though that we tally on a curve and Dr. West was graced with the same such consideration we give our own parents and esteemed leaders who are human first and fail our needs assessments of them.

    I applauded her for raising such an audaciously textured son that would promote his super-ego as a Black Male in America not givin’ a damn in front of White Society and the Establishment unapologetically but then at times Kanye embarrassed his mom (or exposed her parenting failures) and all of us when that same audacity lost sight of being within the frame of healthy ego and balanced perception. many times I felt sorry for her when I could not place the origins of Kanye’s ego to blame her or excuse her by association.

    I also saw he tackled contraditions of becoming a member of the Establishment and using his war against the Establishment as his con to gain entry and fool fringe members of society that wanted someone to say some of the things he would say. I found him aging but not maturing. So ever time he was take a step forward, I would cringe for his mother when it exhibited 10 steps backwards with her signature possibly approving the conception of his actions. It’s one thing to advertise how close they were but that also attributes to the plausibility of finding all links of how Kanye came to be and is in egocentricity and irresponsibility.

    After having been a schoolteacher to witness the co-dependent, dysfunctional relationship of the Black Mother with the Black Son, I knew the dynamics at play could have been any of my assumptions and then also any and all wrong assumptions according to the empathetic eyes of whom was viewing, justifying, and excusing.

    I don’t revere those relationships at all as healthy stabilizers for the Black Community and I actually find fault with them of being contributors to our men’s ability to want or know how to fight for us and the community. I find those relationship foster self-centered scared men that hide behind their jobs and toys so they can acquire things as a hobby and acclaim for social relevance with their mothers prodding them to remain stuck to their titties.

    Still again I have no proof other than what I could visually see in the product of her son’s caliber and candor and her a few visual images of her doting over him. That same sentiment is valued in assessing the death of Dr. West. Empathy goes to her and her family but she was human and she made choices that we can reasonably access as lay people that was not necessary. I don’t know. I don’t know what this really means or if her death is symbolic of a lot and she and Kanye were and are that important to us as a result. I do know that much for sure in their symbolism and opportunity to magnify what we are becoming as a people in value and social construct.

    They have given us a new opportunity to understand some things. One, we are afraid to speak the truth and we are afraid to speak the truth, if negative, about people in pop-culture or in fringe societies revere. We as a people are developementally stuck at stations of fear when it comes to telling the plain truth simple and straight. We disdain from being fair and balanced when we want to write the story and prematurely write the ending as an epic or heroic tale. And even in tragedy we revise the stories to not have to see what we really saw.

    Secondly, I learned from her this past year what I may confront as my body changes as I start to get older realizing even now I am not as young as I used to be.

    Looking at Essence this month, they have 3 brown actresses with long weaves on the cover pressuring me and all Sisters to abandone our natural hair to join the sorority of Nia, Sanaa, and Gabriel if we want to be among them in association. The messages we send each other shapes our psyche and no matter how strong you are on one day, seeing everyone deny what is natural for the mainstream cosmetic identity does make you understand and feel marginal, even if rare and special. Dr. West’s death has offered us opportunity to evolve but it requires hard work and hurt feelings along the way of our own’s.

    I’ve also learned about the unhealthy relationship of what can be coined as unconditional love when those who are in love are co-dependent on that assumed notion of their act. An unconditional love is one that is invested but not built on the over-compensation of something missing.

    And also I learned more about Black Baby-Booming women as they exist and whom I don’t want to become.

  4. Cliff

    “But I believe a year or so ago it was Kanye that told the media that he and his male friends sought out MUTTS, a nickname they made to describe mixed-heritage girls that were somewhat Black in genetic composition of their mix”

    I would humbly ask for the proof of this statement. I have not heard of this statement anywhere else other than your blog. Verification please.

    I know the white supremacist mind has poisoned all people on the Earth, but I doubt one who is consciously awake would make a statement like that.

  5. Andrea

    The source was Essence. You can do an internet search and find other sites cited it. It went under the radar because one, it was cited by and only Black Media. Maybe traditional media heard it but did not decipher that it was politically incorrect in a prejudiced statement by a Black Man against Black Women of a certain type in contrast of a preferrential type mixed with White or Other. The statement was hot on the heels on other heated racial dramas and also we tend to not want to highlight our own social ills where we infringe on our own with such prejudices.

    I believe also a lot of Blacks probably never heard about this because of shame and embarrassment because clearly it shows a contradiction of his allegiance to all that is solid Black via evidence his vocal actions that backed the long trend in widespread visual choices of Black Men in finding the preferred mate with the proper genetic accountrements.

    His brazen, boastful attitude of being educated displayed a proxy of the same clandestine reasoning and judgment of a scientist practicing eugenics. His preference as a laymen validated that we, Blacks, practice eugenics but will cry up and down how we love being Black as long as Black is not too Afrocentric genetically.

    While he said two years ago that George Bush didn’t care about Black People, Essence was hinting to the irony of his statement about preferrential choices in chooses mates based on the breeding.

    His statement not only but contradicts a presumably healthy relationship he has with dark skinned women with Afrocentric features and it showcases a glitch in relative normalcy with his relationship with his mother who is a dark skinned woman.

    Was she just an exception to the rule or was he clearly stating that if his mother was not his mother, she would not be good enough in her brown skin?

    I know Kanye would deny this as well as most because it is so inappropriate and inconvenient to have these contradicting thoughts when we protest for our convenients to proclaim our measure in contest that we look our brown and black skin tones and nappyness. We tell ourselves who we are whether our actions show another person entirely to the world in view. And we know that we have fears to be exposed of who we fight to not be. So we invent to reinvent and revise to over-compensate what we want to hide that is ugly and unacceptable of our flaws in being what is the absolute truth in ourselves.

    Why are you so surprised? Are you too feeling some form of guilt to deny the plausibility that Kanye is that human and yet that utterly honest to display his flaws that hurt others so cavalier and hapharzardly? Are you just surprised he “slipped up” and said what a lot of our Black Men think but deny they think, feel, and own.

    I find denial is collective here. We deny so much and simply we cannot consider that is what so special about Kanye is how complicated he is. It is maddening more than anything. But because the mainstream is not as mature as it should be to articulate all that is of value in systems intelligence, we write off Kanye as sometimes a pain in the ass and sometimes a genuis. What is special about him has nothing to do with his self-promoted and manipulated career thrown as us in suberfuge of genuis. It is all marketing. But what is special about him is: is how human he is.

    I have to fight everyday to be vigilant of all of my thoughts. Just because I am enlightened, it does not mean I am perfect and immune from making mistakes and showing similar irresponsibility to my preferences and prejudices not knowing when too much hurt emotion is impairing fair and balanced judgment. I read Cornell West admit to the same thing that he has to be vigilant daily to not casually inflict or incite because the birthright we have of slave mentality is an active virus, whether we think it is dormant or annihilated. It is there to raise its ugly head at our expense of hurting our own.

    I know this and I do not assume I am so above perpetuating crimes against my own the same as Kanye did with those words and his actions in preference. His action is a mentality that validates and gave life to a lifestyle and ideology. Never would I promote myself to be that immune and above being human. That is why I detest when people annoit themselves or others conscious. It is a term so loosely handed out in pageantry of appeasement and in the competition for acceptance via self-promotion of worthiness.

    I understand Kanye even as he hurt me. I just didn’t accept it as reciprocated consciousness because I understand the illness. But when you, Cliff, deny him his humanity by exalting him above being mortal in making choices of clumsy yet destructive mistakes, you hinder his growth and you hinder all others that witness his frailties. People watch and learn as you give him a pass because of sheer celebrity or your will to not understand what real consciousness is. Kanye was conscious…consciously ignorant and yet so beautifully human because of the ability to be absolute in honesty at the same time when he said that statement and actualized that sentiment in lifestyle choices.

    I was not surprised he said it. I was not even surprised how it went under the radar. I know how developmentally dsyfunctional we are as a people and that we resist such truths when it compromises even us in discomfort, and not just Kanye’s. We hearing his foolish yet truthful boast in bravado is of the same secrets our people want to continue to keep as myths about ourselves.

    I never held it against him in wanting to wage counter-prejudice of his rejection of my skin-tone and physical attributes. I just considered that I like so many other Black Women who hurt from his words would quietly nurse our shame that he and so many Black Men shift on us for not being White, Other, and looking too much like them who they hate of themselves.

    I just wonder what he will do with this new course in his life without his mother and the connection of her death to the values he supports in a vanity career.

  6. Cliff

    WHOA, I think Kanye and other and others who think like him have found one who is blessed with the ability to heal through her thoughts. Thorough my sista’, thorough. Go ahead extract that poison from our brains. The white towel has been thrown at your chocolate feet, but wait a minute, where are the crowns? 🙂

  7. Of course the paper bag test is alive and well after all these years and for that we bow our heads and contemplate how messed up it is and what a long way to go to true liberation. But…his mom wasn’t getting a nose job or a skin bleaching, she was getting a tummy tuck and a breast reduction. I fully appreciate the many pathologies of the eurocentric brainwashing being inflicted daily, but the feminine ideal pushed by Hollywood is not natural to females of ANY race. Grown women of any color are not supposed to have the physique of a pre-pubescant BOY. I don’t know who is calling the shots in the fashion industry or in Hollywood, but it obviously is not heterosexual Black men!

  8. Cliff

    “His brazen, boastful attitude of being educated displayed a proxy of the same clandestine reasoning and judgment of a scientist practicing eugenics. His preference as a laymen validated that we, Blacks, practice eugenics but will cry up and down how we love being Black as long as Black is not too Afrocentric genetically.”

    Andrea do you want Diamonds and Rubies encrusted….?

  9. Hey guys check out this new website In memory all the celebrities that died it’s got videos and stuff really nice!

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