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Probe Continues Over Woman's Death At Columbia

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Autopsy results remain inconclusive for a young woman who was found dead in a Columbia University residence hall this past weekend, but a published report said she had previously sued the makers of the NuvaRing birth control device for causing blood clots in her brain.

The woman, identified as Jessica Fingers, 21, of Monticello, was found face up on the floor at 11:48 a.m. at the East Campus residence hall. Columbia said she was a student who had been on leave, but had been visiting the campus at the time.

Paramedics pronounced Fingers dead at the scene.

Published reports attributed to unnamed sources indicated that Fingers and her boyfriend had been taking drugs before she died.

The New York City Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy on Monday, which was ruled inconclusive and pending further studies, according to a DNAInfo report.

But the publication reported that Fingers was a plaintiff in a class-action suit last year against Merck & Co., makers of the NuvaRing.

The lawsuit was filed in California State Superior Court in February, and Fingers claimed she suffered clotting problems as a result of using the birth control product, the publication reported. The lawsuit alleged that Merck did not warn users about risk associated with the NuvaRing, and promoted the product too heavily, the publication reported.

Columbia issued a letter to parents following the death.

"While this is a difficult time for our community, we are united in our grief and committed to ensuring the health and well-being of every member of the Columbia family," the university said.

The university's Office of Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of the University Chaplain and other Columbia staff members were made available to talk to students who might have been affected by the death.

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