A preliminary report detailing an investigation into the death of Carol Ann MacGuineas, a free-lance writer for The Washington Post and other publications, has found that her death was "an unfortunate result of a procedure used on a very sick woman," according to a National Institutes of Health official.

Dr. Saul Rosen, deputy director of the NIH, said the report, submitted by National Cancer Institute surgeon Steven Rosenberg, will not be released until it is reviewed by other members of an internal review team. But the report did not find fault with the procedure or the surgery done by Dr. Jeffrey Norton, he said.

MacGuineas, 44, who had lymphatic cancer, died Sept. 22 after she lapsed into a coma after a chemotherapy procedure at NIH. She was informed of the risk involved with the procedure, Rosen said, and the review of her death was part of the standard review made of operations at NIH.

The chemotherapy procedure required a surgeon to insert a catheter into a vein in order to inject an anticancer drug into the bloodstream. In MacGuineas' case, the vein tore; she died two days later, hospital officials said.

The procedure, used on late-stage cancer patients, had been successfully executed 600 times over the past four years, Rosen said. MacGuineas was the first patient who died as a result, he said.