Sunday, June 26, 2022

June 26, 1994: Bleeding Out by the Side of the Road

Pamela Jean Colson, age 31, was 12 weeks pregnant when friends drive her to Women's Medical Services in Pensacola, Florida, for a safe and legal abortion on Saturday, June 25, 1994. The abortion was performed by Dr. William Philip Keene.

Pamela bled heavily during the drive home. According to her friends, Pamela began having trouble breathing when they were about halfway home to Port St. Joe. She became unresponsive at around 7:30 p.m., so they pulled into the parking lot of Scottish Inn in Panama City. The hotel's manager said that two passers-by did CPR while Pamela's friends called for an ambulance. Somebody else attempted to wave down traffic to seek additional help.

When medics arrived they found Pamela in full cardiac and respiratory arrest. They took over her care and transported her to Bay Medical Center. Surgeons there performed an emergency hysterectomy in a vain attempt to save Pamela's life. She died shortly after midnight the following day.

Her autopsy showed: bloodstained fluid in chest and peritoneal space, and "extensive hematoma formation in the pelvic area with the peritoneum denuded from the left gutter area caudually." The surgeon who performed an emergency hysterectomy, trying to save Pamela's life, had removed her uterus at the site of the laceration "so that the laceration was a portion of the incision made to remove the uterus." Her uterus showed extensive hemorrhage and blood clots. Her uterine artery was also injured. Several of Pamela's ribs were fractured, apparently during attempts to resuscitate her; this is common in even properly performed CPR.

The cause of death was given as "irreversible shock from blood loss due to a perforated uterus occurring at the time of an elective abortion." William Keene was tentatively identified as having performed the abortion.

Pamela's fatal abortion was performed at the clinic where abortionist David Gun was shot dead.

After the investigation into Pamela's death, Keene was fired from Sarasota Women's Health Center, the other Florida clinic where he worked. The director of Women's Medical Service, where Pamela's fatal abortion was performed, on the other hand, pooh-poohed the idea of dismissing Keene. "Of course he's allowed to perform abortions. That's a ridiculous question. Complications occur all the time," clinic director Sandy Sheldon told the Tuscaloosa News. She insisted that Pamela had seemed fine, talking and eating, before being discharged from the clinic.

She also showed disdain for the press for covering Pamela's death, telling the Tampa Bay Times, "Patients die all the time, whether it's a gall bladder operation or a hernia or a tonsillectomy, and nobody cares. It's not front-page news. ..... Why is this different? We did everything we were supposed to do." It was evidently lost on her that even the notoriously abortion-friendly Centers for Disease Control long since stated that there was never any legitimate reason for an abortion patient to bleed to death. ("Fatal hemorrhage from legal abortion in the United States," Surgical Gynecology and Obstetrics, November, 1983) David Grimes, et. al., clearly said:

Deaths from hemorrhage associated with legal induced abortion should not occur. Yet hemorrhage was the third most frequent cause of death from legal abortion in the United States between 1972 and 1979.  .... Twenty-four women died from hemorrhage after legal abortion in the United States from 1972 to 1979.... Deaths from hemorrhage can be eliminated by preventing uterine trauma during abortion and by rapidly diagnosing and treating hemorrhage if it occurs.

Pamela's family didn't find out about her death until the following Tuesday because they were traveling at the time. Pamela's parents sued the clinic on behalf of themselves and Pamela's two motherless young children, but the case was dismissed because of the plaintiff attorney's failure to submit an investigation in a timely manner.

Watch "No Excuse But Plenty of Excuses" on YouTube.


Saturday, June 25, 2022

June 25, 1911: Doctor Free to Kill Again

On June 25, 1911, 20-year-old Mrs. Anna Mueller died from a criminal abortion performed by Dr. George Lotz. Lotz was arrested July 5. He was indicted for felony murder.

Leslie Reagan, in her book "When Abortion Was a Crime," indicates that he was expelled from the Chicago Medical Society after admitting guilt in Anna's death, but there is no record that he served time for the crime. In fact, he was free and in Danville, Illinois in 1917, when he perpetrated a fatal attempted abortion on Matilda Tidrick.

Anna's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

Watch "Another Doctor Free to Kill Again" on YouTube.

Source: Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database

Friday, June 24, 2022

June 24, 1971: First Legal Abortion Death in Rockland County New York

Edith Clark traveled from her home in Newark, New Jersey to the Sparkhill, New York office of Dr. Robert Livingston to avail herself of the new law, for a first-trimester abortion on June 24, 1971.

Shortly after she was given an injection of Innovar for anesthesia, Edith went into cardiac arrest, and attempts to revive her failed. She left behind three children.

Edith was the first woman to die in New York's Rockland County from a newly legalized abortion. The second, 18-year-old Pamela Modugno, died in May of 1972 after an abortion in one of the many freestanding abortion facilities that opened immediately after New York decided to permit outpatient abortion-on-demand up to 24 weeks.

June 24, 1929: Two Doctors Arrested

On June 24, 1929, 19-year-old homemaker Winifred Mary Garver of South Bend, Indiana, underwent an abortion at the Chicago office of Dr. Anna Schultz, aka Rollins. Schultz was assisted by Dr. James White. Winifred died on June 27 at Chicago's Woodlawn Hospital. Winifred was white; both her abortionist and the assistant were Black. 

On June 27, both physicians were held by the coroner. Schultz was indicted for felony murder by a grand jury on October 6, 1930 and released on $10,000 bond. White was released on $5,000 bond. I've been unable to determine the outcome of the case.

Source: "Two Physicians Held," Palladium Item, June 27, 1929

June 24, 1882: Incest and Abortion in Michigan

On June 10, 1882, a wealthy 62-year-old farmer named James T. Phillips brought his daughter, 20-year-old Ruth Phillips, from their home to another farm near DeSoto, Wisconsin, where his two older daughters lived.

Ruth took violently ill. On June 13, she delivered stillborn twins. 

A few days later she made a shocking deathbed statement to her sisters: she said that their father was the father of the twins, and that he had used instruments on her to cause the abortion that killed the twins and was soon to take her own life.

Ruth died on June 24, and was buried on the 26th. 

"After the death and burial," says the July 26, 1882 Vernon County Censor, "suspicion of foul play having been around in the neighborhood, Phillips was arrested, the body disinterred, and a post mortem examination had by Dr. Gott."

The autopsy showed that Ruth had died from uterine inflammation, though there were no marks of instrumentation that the doctor could find.

Phillips. a native of Wales, was arrested and jailed pending $1,400 bail (a little over $11,000 in 2022).  "There is much excitement in the community where Phillips lives, and open threats of lynching in case he secures bail."

"The crimes is the most terrible one that can be conceived, and if Phillips is proven guilty, no punishment that the law provides for such offenses can prove adequate."

Phillips had been tried fifteen years earlier for committing incest against another of his daughters, but was acquitted in that case.

Lynching turned out to be unnecessary. Phillips hanged himself in his jail cell on August 5, 1882. This leads me to believe that the abortion had really taken place, since a mere incest case hadn't been enough to lead him to suicide 15 years or so earlier.

Watch "Jailhouse Suicide" on YouTube.


Thursday, June 23, 2022

June 23, 1899: Widow Dies After Doctor Does Abortion

Cora A. Burke, age 20, lived with her mother and 4-year-old son and her parents in Idaho. She'd been widowed about five months and had recently become engaged to marry.

Dr. R. J. Alcorn
In May of 1899, Cora told Mrs. Martha Johnson that she was about six weeks pregnant and wanted to find a good doctor to perform an abortion. Mrs. Johnson introduced Cora to Dr. Robert J. "R. J." Alcorn who had been practicing medicine in Kootenai County, Idaho, for a short time. Dr. Alcorn was living in the boarding house Mrs. Johnson operated with Mr. E.J. Abbey.

Cora went to Dr. Alcorn's room about two days after they were introduced. Mr. Abbey listened from an adjoining room, and heard Cora say that the instrument Dr. Alcorn was using was hurting her.

On the night of Tuesday, June 21, Dr. Alcorn asked Mr. T.J. Rundell to help him carry a table into his office, which was at the back of a drug store in the town of Harrison. Rundell's curiosity was piqued, and he asked Alcorn if he was going to "dissect a stiff." Alcorn told him no, he was going to perform an operation on somebody from across the river.

Rundell decided to snoop, so he returned at 10:00 PM and saw Cora go through the drug store into Alcorn's office. Rundell then slipped around to the back of the building, where he could peer into Alcorn's office around an ill-hung window blind. The following is what Rundell says he observed.

Alcorn stood beside the chair where Cora was sitting, supporting her head with one hand. He had a small vial containing a dark liquid, and was holding a cloth to Cora's face. Cora seemed to fall into a deep sleep, whereupon Alcorn picked her up and lay her on the table.

Alcorn removed Cora's undergarments and positioned her for the surgery. He examined her internally, inserted a speculum, then inserted a probe about a foot long into her body, causing a flow of blood which he blotted up with a cloth. From time to time, Alcorn applied the cloth to Cora's face again. The entire procedure took about an hour and a half.

Cora was awakened, and Alcorn helped her to set her clothing to rights and sent her on her way.

At about 4 PM the next day, Alcorn was called to tend to Cora, who was in a lot of pain. He examined her and found her uterus to be inflamed and bleeding. He prescribed ergot, to be given one-half teaspoon each half-hour for three doses, then every hour afterward for 18 hours. Cora's mother asked Alcorn about her daughter's condition. Alcorn told her, "She caught a bad cold. She does not flow enough when she has her monthlies. I will give her something to make her flow."

At about 6:00 PM on the 21st, William Ketchum called Alcorn to visit Mrs. Ketchum, but Alcorn told him, "Well, I don't know. I am expecting a miscarriage here any minute. I can go over there, and come back, if it does not make any difference to them." So he went to Ketchum's home to attend to his wife.

Over the ensuing days, Alcorn visited Cora five times, the last time about two hours before she died on Friday afternoon, June 23. Her feet and hands were cold, her fingers blue, her lips purple. Alcorn told Cora's mother that she was doing well and would be up soon. Alcorn immediately took a train to Washington state, returning about 10:00 on the following Sunday morning. The next day he again left the state, this time going to Montana, where he was arrested and returned to Kootenai county.

While Cora had been ill, she passed a lot of blood and clots. Mrs. Knight, who visited Cora during her illness, testified, "I helped dress her after she was dead. Her clothing and bedclothing were saturated with blood. A quilt was doubled up under her four thicknesses, and it was clear through the quilt. It was clots of blood. I observed an odor in connection with it. There was too great a quantity to have come from the ordinary menstruation. Much greater in quantity."

Kootenai County Sherriff F. H. Bradbury testified about the conversation he'd had with Alcorn on the train bringing him back to face justice. "He told me that he never had anything to do with this girl, Cora Burke; that he began in the daytime an operation on a man for stricture, and did not complete it; and that he took him in the back room of the drug store and completed the operation in the evening. He gave me this statement after I had warned him not to make any statement to me."

Alcorn testified on is own behalf, saying that Cora had attempted to do an abortion on herself with "a hair dart," which had punctured the wall of her uterus and broken off, leaving about 1 1/2 inches. Alcorn said that he'd used a speculum and piston syringe to remove the foreign body from Cora's uterus.

The physicians called as expert witnesses on the case all agreed that Cora died of septicemia or blood poisoning. They also agreed that ergot itself would be enough to cause an abortion.

Alcorn's defense also raised the possibility that Cora hadn't actually been pregnant, but the court concluded that Cora had believed herself to be pregnant, had sought an abortion, and had undergone a procedure intended to cause an abortion, which was enough to demonstrate the intent of the defendant to kill a fetus, especially in the light of Alcorn's statement that he was expecting a patient to miscarry.

Alcorn was charged with murder. His first trial ended with a hung jury. The second jury found him guilty of manslaughter. The judge sentenced Alcorn to seven years in the penitentiary. Alcorn appealed, partially on the grounds that since the indictment did not specifically say that the abortion took place in 1899, the injury was not proven to have taken place less than a year and a day prior to the death.

Watch "Shouldn't 'All Surgery Have Risks' Apply?" at YouTube.


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

June 22, 1951: Fatal Abortion Blamed on Nurse

 At 11:45 am on June 22, 1951, 18-year-old Minnie Bell Stewart was pronounced dead on arrival at Columbia Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina. Minnie had worked as a domestic servant.

Her cause of death was determined to be generalized peritonitis due to a criminal abortion. It was ruled a homicide.

A practical nurse was held by police in the case.

Both Minnie and the nurse were Black women.

Watch "Was Scant Reporting Due to Race?" on YouTube.


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

June 21, 1985: Teen Dies After Languishing in Coma

Seventeen-year-old Debra Ann Lozinski had languished for two months in a coma, hospitalized after an abortion at Medical Care Center in Woodbridge, New Jersey.

On June 21, 1985, Debra's parents filed suit against Dr. Scheininger, Dr. Sinha, and other staff for failing to properly screen and examine Debra prior to her abortion. They also alleged that staff failed to properly monitor their daughter's vital signs during the abortion, failing to quickly detect and properly treat respiratory difficulty. As a result, Debra suffered the brain damage that had caused her coma.

Shortly after midnight on June 22, a hospital staffer checked on Debra and found her dead; she evidently had died shortly before midnight.

See the memorial page Debra's friends put in her high school year book here.

Watch "Did Anybody Monitor Debra?" on YouTube.

Monday, June 20, 2022

June 20, 1974: Abortion Rights Hero Kills Teen

Dr. Milan Vuitch

Dr. Milan Vuitch was a hero among abortion advocates. He had deliberately been arrested performing criminal abortions so that he could challenge the Washington, DC abortion law, and he succeeded in changing the way the law was enforced, effectively nullifying it.

On June 15, 1974, seventeen-year-old Wilma Harris of West Virginia went to Vuitch's Laurel Clinic for a safe and abortion. Five days later, on June 20, she was dead. During interrogatories, Vuitch said that anesthesiologist Strahil Nacev described Wilma as "so quiet" during the abortion. Although he had begun a vacuum abortion, Vuitch said that the fetus had been too big to pass through the suction tube. He said he used instruments to remove the remaining fetal parts.

Although the abortion was done at around 2:00 PM, Vuitch didn't transfer Wilma to a properly equipped hospital until after midnight. Wilma's family sued, claiming that Vuitch and his staff had allowed Wilma to lapse into a coma and lie unattended for 12 hours before transferring her to the hospital. The suit also claimed that Vuitch and his staff falsified records to cover their tracks. The family won a judgment on December 23, 1976, but the settlement was sealed by court order.

Georgianna English also died after an abortion by Vuitch. WDVM-TV won a Peabody Award for their expose of Vuitch after her death.

Vuitch isn't the only abortionist who kept his nose clean as a criminal abortionist, only to kill two patients after legalization. Jesse Ketchum managed to kill Margaret Smith and Carole Schaner in a four-month period after New York put out a welcome mat for carpetbagging abortionists in 1970. Benjamin Munson of South Dakota killed Linda Padfield and Yvonne Mesteth.

Watch "Permission to Take Lethal Risks" on YouTube.