OTR Interviews

Whitney Houston's autopsy: An inside look

A look at how a deadly mix of drugs, drowning - or perhaps both - could have killed the R&B songstress

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 13, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now, we may not find out what killed Whitney Houston for weeks. But why does it take so long? Dr. Michael Baden joins us. Good evening, sir. Nice to see you, Dr. Baden.

DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Good evening, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Dr. Baden, why does it take so long to get toxicology results?

BADEN: Well, what's happening is the autopsy took a day. The toxicology will probably -- 95 percent of it will be finished by the end of the week. But then they want to leave themselves time to do other studies, if necessary, look for other drugs that weren't looked for the first time, look at the microscopic slides because if there were infections, say a myocarditis in the heart, or encephalitis, you might not -- you'd see that only under the microscope on the microscopic slides.

So I'm sure they're going to do a thorough examination to rule out any other infectious or natural cause of death, if it's there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it because of the backlog in the labs, or is it because they actually have to do something that takes weeks?

BADEN: No. If they put in the backlog, then it'll take a long time. But this type of investigation should go to the front of the line. There shouldn't be a backlog in testing Whitney's blood and other tissues.

The testing itself takes about a week itself. For the normal, general unknown, that would be done. But there are lots of other drugs that aren't included in the initial tests. And they want to leave themselves time in case they have to do special tests because of other things they learn about drugs that she might have been exposed to.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, why do you think, or what were the police and the investigators and the coroner and everyone else doing in that hotel room for so long? Because her body remained in that room for an awful long time.

BADEN: Yes, it did, for some 9 hours. First of all, apart from photographing the scene and -- for some reason, they felt they had to get a court order to make sure they were in line legally to look for any drugs that might not be out in front of them. They could take whatever they see, but if they're going to search in drawers, under the mattress, they thought they had to get a court order.

And also, they spent a lot of time interviewing every person who saw the scene, who was there, the people mentioned -- the people from the people from hotel, any hotel persons who came up, through the fire department people, EMT people, to see what each one of them saw and said.

Remember, they were told that she went into the bathtub under her own volition, but the police want to make sure that she wasn't carried in there because she had lost conscious. A healthy person, a person who's conscious, will not drown in bathtub unless something happens to them -- a heart attack, a brain hemorrhage, if she fell down and hit her head and got a subdural hemorrhage, so that -- because drugs themselves can cause her to lose consciousness...

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you saying that you can't fall asleep in the bathtub and slip down and drown? It's got to be something else. I mean, if you're asleep and you fall into the water, are you going to wake up?

BADEN: Yes. Yes. If -- many people fall asleep relaxing in the bathtub. They don't drown because if their nose and mouth goes under the water, it'll wake them up. You have to be unconscious to drown.

You're going to see this with Drew Peterson -- remember Drew Peterson out in Illinois -- is one of the issues that'll come up. But a healthy person who's conscious doesn't drown unless something causes them to lose consciousness.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, one other quick question. As a rule as a doctor -- and you're an M.D. -- if someone comes into your office, let's say, a month or two ago and you suspect the person of being an addict, is there any impediment to you supplying any drugs that you might think would relax the person, for instance?

BADEN: To give them drugs?

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes.

BADEN: Well, that's tough for a doctor. They should not give them any drug that's going to make them dizzy, continue their addiction, if they feel they're addicted. The problem is, as you saw with Anna Nicole Smith and with Michael Jackson, if doctors give too many drugs to persons that are addicted, instead of withholding drugs, they don't get punished for it. There's no punishment for the doctor. Doctors feel that, If I don't give them the drug they want, if I don't give them the Xanax, they'll go to another doctor who'll give them the Xanax.

So that one of the things that police will be looking into is what doctors had see seen, the two visits that the TMZ people found out about. What were the symptoms? Should she have been sent to a hospital to be treated if she was dizzy and didn't feel well, maybe had some kind of an infection not of her throat, but supposing of her heart, a myocarditis?

VAN SUSTEREN: Dr. Baden, thank you, sir.

BADEN: Thank you, Greta.