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Gibb autopsy cites twisted intestine

From Susan Candiotti


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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Maurice Gibb died because he had an inherited condition that caused his small intestine to twist, which cut its access to the blood supply, the Miami-Dade County medical examiner said in an autopsy report released Thursday.

The report, issued four days after the death of Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter/musician Maurice Gibb, said the twisting -- called volvulus -- was a congenital condition.

The autopsy was initiated by the medical examiner's office. Gibb's family has raised questions about his death Sunday at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.

He was taken to the hospital last Wednesday for severe stomach pain, and underwent emergency abdominal surgery Thursday, some time after suffering cardiac arrest.

Dr. Jeffrey Raskin likened the impact of the twisting of Gibb's small intestine to what happens to a garden hose that has a knot in it: the tighter the knot, the less liquid can flow through the hose.

Raskin is the interim chief of gastroenterology at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center and had no connection to Gibb's care.

Barry and Robin, Maurice's twin, told the BBC Monday they suspect surgeons erred in their treatment and vowed to determine what happened in the final moments of their brother's life.

But Raskin said the autopsy does not indicate whether Gibb's death was preventable. "It's impossible to say whether Gibb should have died," Raskin said after reviewing the autopsy at CNN's request. "The doctor who treated him is the only one who can answer questions about his [Gibb's] care and why he [the doctor] did what he did."

Raskin said the autopsy indicates that physicians removed a large percentage of the musician's small intestine, apparently because its blood supply had been compromised because of the twisting.

Raskin said the autopsy report sheds no light on how Gibb's cardiac arrest, which occurred before the surgery, affected his prognosis.

On Wednesday, hundreds of relatives and friends attended a private memorial service for Gibb, in Miami Beach.

The 53-year-old had lived in Miami Beach for years with his wife Yvonne. The couple had two children.

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