Saturday, December 03, 2022

December 3, 1983: Andre Nehorayoff's Second Dead Patient

 "Why trust a nameless intern or resident when you can get all services & follow up under personal supervision of Dr. Nehorayoff?" asked the ad running in Newsday in 1981. For just $145, a woman could head to Plaza Women's Medical Center and entrust her care to Andre Nehorayoff at a facility offering "Pre-Natal Birth Control." 

Odd phrasing, that.

What the kind folks at Plaza Women's Medical Center failed to include in their ad is that their Dr. Nehorayoff  wasn't the most skilled doctor in the city. 

The medical board wasn't exactly going out of their way to alert anybody either. In fact, Dr. Andrey Nehorayoff had already killed an abortion patient. The state hadn't even gotten around to investigating.

The First Documented Botch Was Deadly


A young woman the medical board eventually calls "Patient F" went to Nehorayoff's office for a safe, legal abortion on December 15, 1979. To avoid the dehumanizing term "Patient F" I will call her Faye. She was 19 years old.

When they finally got around to investigating, the medical board noted that Nehorayoff failed to record any medical history or pre-surgical exam.

Nehorayoff performed a suction curettage at 2:10 pm.  After procedure, at 2:25 pm, moved Nehorayoff moved Faye to recovery. Nehorayoff's staff failed to provide for adequate monitoring. Nobody was consistently visually monitoring Faye and there was no EKG monitor on her. 

Faye was stable when somebody checked on her at 3 pm.  However, by around 3:25, Faye was cyanotic and pulseless. She was transferred to Roosevelt Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Cue Crickets. 

The state's failure to take action meant that Nehorayoff was still advertising his supposedly exemplary services in 1983, when "Patient E" entrusted herself to his dubious care November 29. I'll call her Ellen.

Nehorayoff left the medical history of Ellen's chart blank. He didn't to an ultrasound and didn't record that he performed a physical examination. He didn't order an ultrasound. The experts on the medical board -- when they got around to looking into the events -- couldn't decide if they should fault Nehorayoff for failing to use laminaria to safely dilate Ellen's cervix and whether he'd dilated her cervix adequately. They did agree, though, that Nehorayoff should have known that he hadn't completed the abortion. He should have transferred Ellen to a hospital to monitor her and finish the abortion. He sent her home instead, noting that he had advised her that she might pass fetal tissue and instructed her to call if she bled heavily. He got a report from the pathology lab on December 1, indicating that he'd only removed placental tissue. Nehorayoff didn't even notate this in Ellen's chart and didn't document any efforts to contact her. On December 3, at 5:10 am, Ellen was admitted to the emergency room at West Hudson Hospital in Kearney, New Jersey. She was pronounced dead at 6:20 am. An autopsy found a fetal leg wrapped in placental tissue protruding from Ellen's uterus. The incomplete abortion had caused Ellen to bleed to death.

Oddly, the medical board eventually found that Nehorayoff was negligent in many aspects, but concluded that he he was not negligent for failing to follow up on the pathology report because he already knew that the abortion had been incomplete and had been negligent in handling this existing knowledge.

The medical board closed their investigation into Ellen's death in November of 1988. It's unclear whether or not they'd addressed some non-fatal botches at that time as well. I haven't seen evidence that they'd gotten around to investigating Faye's death.

At Least He Stopped Killing Them

Faye and Ellen weren't the only women to suffer complications at Nehorayoff's hands.

Patient D, "Dru", was 27 when she went to Nehorayoff for a mid-trimester abortion on October 18, 1988. Again, if Nehorayoff performed a medical history and exam he didn't record it. He didn't use laminaria. He proceeded to do an outpatient abortion even though Dru's hematocrit was only 26%. (A woman's hematocrit should be from 35.5% to 44.9%.) Nehorayoff sent Dru home after the abortion even though, as with Ellen, he had concluded that he'd performed an incomplete abortion. He told Dru to return for another procedure on October 22, and yet a third procedure on October 26. The medical board -- when they finally got around to paying attention -- faulted Nehorayoff for doing outpatient abortion on anemic patient and for discharging her when he wasn't sure if the abortion was complete. They noted that Dru could have died. They found Nehorayoff negligent but not grossly so and not incompetent.

Patient C, "Coral," was age 22 when she went to Nehorayoff for a first trimester abortion on September 20, 1988. Nehorayoff sent the tissue away for a pathology report but didn't call to get the results. On September 28, Coral returned to Nehorayoff's office complaining of lower abdominal pain. Nehorayoff didn't order a pregnancy test, sonogram, or review of the pathology report. He finally did get the pathology report, indicating that he had not removed an embryo, on September 29, but didn't do anything about it. He finally ordered an ultrasound on October 18, identifying the fact that Coral had a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy. The medical board does not indicate what care Coral got and from whom to address the ectopic pregnancy. The board found Nehorayoff negligent but not grossly so, and not incompetent

Lucky to Be Alive

Patient B, "Blaire", age 18, went to Nehorayoff's office on November 22, 1989, for a mid-trimester abortion. Nehorayoff's idea of a pre-operative exam and medical history was limited to recording her pulse, blood pressure, and weight. During the abortion, Nehorayoff pulled a loop of bowel out through Blaire's cervix. He poked Blaire's intestine back through the 2.5 cm (nearly one inch) hole he'd torn in her uterus, then continued with the abortion. At last he transferred Blaire to New York Hospital. Exploratory surgery found a 6.5 foot long section of devascularized bowel in Blaire's abdomen, along with portions of her fetus. Doctors removed fetal remains, and the dead portion of Blaire's intestine. The board found that Nehorayoff was negligent, but not grossly so, and that he was not incompetent. (I have to give Nehorayoff credit for not just sending Blaire home to bleed to death like Bruce Steir did with Sharon Hamplton.)

Nearly Fatal Referral

Patient A, "Ariana", age 36, learned from her obstetrician, Dr. Zeinab Fathelbab, that her unborn baby had died. She was in the second trimester of her pregnancy. Dr. Fathelbab referred Ariana to Manhattan Women's Medical Offices so that Dr. Nehorayoff could perform a D&E to remove the dead baby. Ariana went to her appointment on June 23, 1990. At this point I'm sure it's no surprise to find out that Nehorayoff failed to record findings of an adequate history and exam, specifically cardiovascular and pulmonary exams. He failed to do pre-operative tests, including platelets, fibrinogen, and hematocrit. 

Trendelenburg position
Ariana was transferred to the recovery room at noon. He blood pressure was an elevated 130/90 and she was receiving IV fluids. Ariana reported to staff that she was weak and in pain. She was placed in the Trendelenburg position (tilted with her feet higher than her head) and given oral medications and fluids. A patient who might need further surgery should never be given anything by mouth, especially not when in the Trendelenburg position with its increased risk of aspirating the fluids and developing pneumonia.

At 2 pm Ariana's blood pressure had fallen to 80/50. She was also week and unresponsive. The medical board noted that Nehorayoff should have hospitalized her at that point. Instead, Nehorayoff  kept Ariana on site and finally contacted Dr. Fatherlbab to tell him that he was going to transfer Ariana to Central Suffolk Hospital, which was two hours away. Ariana's husband stopped that plan, insisting that they call 911 and have an ambulance bring his wife to the nearest hospital. The ambulance was summoned at around 5 pm. By then Ariana was turning blue and her blood pressure was 80/0. The ambulance brought her to Beth Israel Medical Center. Upon arrival she had a hemoglobin of 7.8 (It should have been at least 12.) and hematocrit of 23.4 (A normal hematocrit should be from 35.5% to 44.9%.). She was fully in shock. Emergency surgery found two lacerations in her uterus. The doctors were unable to repair the damage and ended up having to perform an emergency hysterectomy. As in the other cases, the board found Nehorayoff to be negligent but not grossly negligent, and not incompetent.

Admissions and Excuses

It wasn't until 1991 -- eleven years after Faye's death and eight years after Ellen's death -- that the medical board got around to taking any action. On February 22 they suspended Nehorayoff's license. 

Between March 6 and April 25, they held a hearings over nine separate sessions and decided that it was okay for Nehorayoff to resume practice as long as he stopped doing abortions. On June 10, they decided that it would actually be a good idea to keep Nehorayoff from practicing medicine at all for three years, which they'd reduce to one year if he went into a residency training. 

I'll quote the medical board document verbatim here because it's very telling:

The committee noted that the record indicated that Dr. Nehorayoff had taken shortcuts in his practice of medicine that had contributed to the incidents which led to the revocation of his license and asked Dr. Nehorayoff to respond. He replied that he had a very large practice and did not spend enough time with each patient. He said he tried to make up for his lack of time by taking some shortcuts, which resulted in a lack of sufficient attention to patients as he was overwhelmed by the total practice and the other events that were happening in his life at that time.

Contrast this with his ads, which said, "Your relaxed consultation with Dr. Andre Nehorayoff ... is absolutely free of charge." A man who can't even take the time for a complete medical history or a decent pre-operative exam can hardly be providing relaxed consultations. A man who was offering free consultations on a same-day basis to bring patients in was making the decision to be overwhelmed.

Concerning Ellen's death, Nehorayoff said that there was pending litigation in the case. He said that he had recommended hospitalization but she'd said that it was not necessary and that she didn't want her family to know about the abortion. When he'd tried to call her the day after the abortion she found that the phone number she'd put on the forms wasn't correct.

Good Enough for Planned Parenthood

Nehorayoff said that the problems only occurred with his abortion patients, not his usual obstetric and gynecological patients.  Questioned about his lack of knowledge and skill, Nehorayoff said that since the catastrophes with his patients, he had spent three months volunteering at Planned Parenthood. There he had been trained in the appropriate use of laminaria. 


Nehorayoff told the board that he'd undergone surgery himself since he'd injured and killed his patients and this had made him appreciate a patient's perspective. He said that he would get help if he had problems in the future, and would get hospital admitting privileges so that he could continue to care for his patients if they had to be hospitalized. 

After the board had decided to put Nehorayoff on probation, Linda Randolph, Director of the Office of Public Health, New York State Department of Public Health, reviewed the case. She expressed astonishment that the committee had suggested a residency. Nehorayoff had been a doctor for 20 years. If they thought he was so unskilled that he needed such intense training as a residency, that showed that they recognized that Nehorayoff was a danger.

She ensured that Nehorayoff's license was finally revoked December 20, 1991.


Lime 5: Disease Contraction

 I need copies of the original sources for the non-fatal cases in this part of Lime 5.

"Pamela" underwent an abortion at Biogenetics (Acme Reproductive Services 14) in Chicago on August 7, 1976. She was admitted to a hospital on January 27 due to serum hepatitis contracted through unsanitary, improperly sterilized instruments. Biogenetics is the same facility where Synthia Dennard, "Susanna Chisholm," and Brenda Benton underwent their fatal abortions. (Cook County Circuit Course Case No. 78L 9382)

"Latonya" went to San Vicente Hospital (Hospital 7) in Los Angeles for an abortion on January 21, 1989. The next day she experienced abdominal pain, vomiting, dark urine, yellowing of her eyes, and fatigue. On January 29 she was taken to another hospital where she was diagnosed with hepatitis B, attributed to unsanitary equipment used during the abortion. This is the same hospital where Natalie Meyers, Sara Lint, Joyce Ortenzio, Mary Pena, and Laniece Dorsey underwent their fatal abortions. (Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. C749 762)

I also need original documentation on the death noted in this section of Lime 5:

Fifteen-year-old Sara Neibel had completed treatment for chlamydia when she went to Midtown Hospital in Atlanta for a safe and legal abortion at 17 weeks on May 6, 1994. She was given a clean bill of health and sent home. The next day, she reported a severe headache, sore neck, neck stiffness, and trouble seeing. Her parents began the drive to take her to the hospital. On the way there, Sara began screaming and behaving strangely. When they got to the hospital, she refused to get out of the car. She was disoriented and stuporous upon admission. Sara went into respiratory arrest, and was admitted to the ICU. She was pronounced dead May 11, 1994. The cause of death was determined to be Group B Streptococci Meningitis caused by infected amniotic fluid in her bloodstream. The autopsy performed on Sara found dead tissue and a fetal bone fragment in her infected uterus. (Georgia Autopsy Report No. A1994-13; Georgia Certificate of Death # 023154)

While we're on the topic of patients contracting diseases at abortion clinics, I'd like to quote the Kermit Gosnell Grand Jury Report:

Not documented in the records turned over to the Grand Jury was a second complaint registered between 1996 and 1997. This one was hand-delivered to the secretary of health’s administrative assistant by Dr. Donald Schwarz, now Philadelphia’s health commissioner. Dr. Schwarz, a pediatrician, is the former head of adolescent services at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and was the directing physician of a private practice in West Philadelphia. For 17 years, he treated teenage girls from the West Philadelphia community. Occasionally, he referred patients who wanted to terminate their pregnancies to abortion providers. 

Gosnell’s clinic was originally included as a provider in the referral information that Dr. Schwarz gave to his patients. He and his physician partners noticed, however, that patients who had abortions at Woman’s Medical Society were returning to their private practice, soon after, infected with trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted parasite, that they did not have before the abortions.

When this happened repeatedly, Dr. Schwarz sent a social worker to talk to people at Gosnell’s facility. Based on the social worker’s visit to Women’s Medical Society, Dr. Schwarz stopped referring patients to the clinic. He also hand-delivered a formal letter of complaint to the office of the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health. 

Dr. Schwarz told the Grand Jury that he does not know what happened to his complaint. He never heard back from DOH. And the department did not include it in response to the Grand Jury’s subpoena requesting all complaints relating to Gosnell's’ clinic. We know that no inspection resulted. 

We are very troubled that state health officials ignored this respected physician’s report that girls were becoming infected with sexually transmitted diseases at Gosnell’s clinic when they had abortions there. If Dr. Schwarz’s complaint did not trigger an inspection, we are convinced that none would. 

We also do not understand how a report of this magnitude was not at least added to Gosnell’s file at the state department of health. It suggests to us that there may have been many more complaints that were never turned over to the Grand Jury. We heard testimony from DOH officials who should have been aware of Dr. Schwarz’s complaint – Kenneth Brody and Janice Staloski, at the least. Yet they made no mention of it to the Grand Jury. Did they remember the complaint and choose to exclude it from their testimony? Is ignoring complaints of this seriousness so routine at DOH that they honestly do not remember it? Or did the secretary of health never even forward it on for action? Of these possible explanations, we are not sure which is the most troubling. 

Watch Lime 5: Infection on YouTube. 

Friday, December 02, 2022

December 2, 1945: Lifesaving or Criminal? Fatal Either Way

Osteopath James Unosawa, 50, of Seattle was successfully convicted of second degree murder, manslaughter, and abortion in the 1945 death of 18-year-old Beulah LeClair. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison but was released on $5,000 bond pending appeal.

He got the manslaughter conviction overturned on the grounds that the prosecution had not disproved his defense that he had been trying to save Beulah’s life.

Unosawa's Background

Mug shots of James Maceto Unosawa
Born in Japan in 1891, osteopathic surgeon Maceto Unosawa evidently assumed the Western name James upon arrival in the United States as an adult. His wife and children likewise used both Japanese and Western names. 

Even though he was registered for the draft, Unosawa had been forcibly relocated to Idaho on August 19, 1942, when Japanese Americans were placed in camps, along with his wife, May Kimiyo, and daughters, Marion Shizu, Phyllis Kiyo, and Jeanette Kazuko. For some reason Dr. Unosawa was released to live in Idaho on June 28, 1944, and permitted to work. He returned to Washington in May of 1945, but his family members were not released until July 24, 1945. 

The unfortunate racism of the time is evident in many of the headlines related to the case.

Beulah Connects with Unosawa

According to court documents, Beulah Elmira LaClair was a bi-racial white/Native American woman 18 years old from Shelton, Washington. Beulah had been healthy and able to help her sister, 33-year-old Mrs. Louise Adams, to care for her children and keep house.

On November 13, 1945, Beulah contacted a Filipino man named Leo Mayo, who was related by marriage to her sister. She told him that she was five months pregnant and “wanted to get rid of the baby.” Mayo took Beulah, along with Louise, to Seattle, where they set about arranging an abortion.

Mayo contacted a Filipino nurse, Francisca Gaudia, who worked at Providence Hospital. She in turn contacted Unosawa, whom she had known for about 15 years, and scheduled the abortion.

On November 29th, Gaudia went to pick up Beulah and her sister. Mayo gave Gaudia the $250 abortion fee (around $3,870 in 2022), and she took the two women to Unosawa, paying him $150. She later returned the remaining $100 to Mayo.

The First Visit

Gaudia took Beulah into the exam room while Louise remained in the waiting room. She and Unosawa examined Beulah and were able to detect the fetal heart beat with a stethoscope. Unosawa packed Beulah’s vagina with something supposedly intending to prevent a miscarriage.

The women returned to Unosawa’s office on Saturday, December 1, at about 9:30 in the morning. Again, Louise waited while Gaudia took Beulah into the exam room to see Unosawa.

The Second Visit

Louise later testified that prior to the second visit, Beulah had remained in good health. they had gone to shows together in the evening, and Louise had shared a bed with Beulah and been present when she was bathing. At no time did she notice any vaginal packing. Gaudia and Unosawa, on the other hand, said that at the time of the second visit Beulah was pale, nervous, and reporting that she had deliberately fallen in order to try to cause a miscarriage.

Unosawa said that he removed the packing and found extensive hemorrhage. He said he was unable to detect a fetal heartbeat so he concluded that the baby had died and again packed Beulah’s vagina, intending to stop the hemorrhage. This did not stop the bleeding, Unosawa said, she he concluded that the placenta had detached and he had to remove the dead fetus and the placenta to save Beulah’s life.

Unosawa said that he dismembered the fetus in-utero and removed as much of it and the placenta as he could, assisted by Gaudia. At around 2:30 p.m. Gaudia left to go to work and Unosawa continued unassisted. When he was finished, he put Beulah to bed in an adjoining room.

To the Hospital

At around 6:30 that evening, Unosawa, his wife, and Louise helped Beulah down the back steps and into Unosawa’s car. He drove Buelah and Louise to their hotel. At around 11:00 that night, he drove Gaudia to the hotel. She went inside to take Beulah’s temperature, which was 99 degrees. About 12 hours later, Gaudia and Unosawa returned to the hotel and checked on Beulah together. They found her ill, with a 103 degree fever. Somebody called an ambulance to take Beulah to Providence Hospital. She was admitted at 1:20 p.m. and died half an hour later.

The Autopsy

On December 3, 1945, Dr. Gale Wilson performed an autopsy. He testified that part of the fetus had been left in Beulah’s body and that her cervix was ruptured. He concluded that an incomplete abortion had been performed using sponge forceps or an antiquated obstetric hook. The autopsy report showed far more damage than that. What was left of the fetus had been pushed through a large tear, about two inches by three inches, torn in Beulah’s uterus. Her colon was severed and torn. Her abdomen was full of blood.

A few days after Beulah’s death, police questioned Unosawa at the station. He gave a statement to Officer Shorett and Captain Mahoney but did not at that time say that Beulah had done anything to try to bring on an abortion.

Something Fishy

On Christmas Eve, a messenger delivered an azalea plant to Captain Mahoney, along with an envelope containing $200 in 20-dollar bills and a note saying,

Dear Mr. Mahoney:

I would be very much thankful to you if kindly fix up my case helping my attorney Mr. Schermer.

I’ll see you again when the case is over.

Thanking you in advance for your favor.

Most respectfully yours-

Dr. James M. Unosawa

Mahoney immediately called the prosecutor and the chief of detectives. Unosawa and his attorney were called to the prosecutor’s office a few days later, whereupon Unosawa said that he had merely been sending Mahoney a Christmas gift, not a bribe. The money was given back to Unosawa.

Unosawa’s Story

Unosawa was arrested for manslaughter, 2nd degree murder, and abortion on December 11, 1945.

In March, shortly before the case was set to go to trial, Gaudia went to Leo Mayo, the man who had referred Beulah to Guadia, with $75 (slightly less than $1,200 in 2022) from Unosawa and a typed dialog reading:

“Why the girl came over to see you?

“(A) She took medicine all the time. Fell down many times. Tried to get rid of the baby inside. Lately she started to bleed more and getting weaker. This made her scare and worry, so she-came over to me to help her to take over to a doctor.

“Why did you go to Mrs. Gaudia?

“(A) She is my friend and a good nurse. So she might help me getting a doctor. About the money The girl asked me, so I gave to her. Her physical conditions. Very thin, pale, weak. Anemic. Can not do any hard work. Always complain sick. After she became familyway, she got weaker and weaker.”

Unosawa later testified that the money and the typed Q&A were a good faith expression of his understanding of the situation and his belief that Mayo saw the incident the same way.

The End

Unosawa was found guilty of all three charges and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. Authorities promptly charged Gaudia with those same charges, for the deaths of both mother and unborn baby.

It is difficult to understand how Unosawa could have asserted that he had been trying to save Beulah’s life. If indeed she had suffered an in-utero fetal death, a responsible physician would have admitted her to the hospital for care rather than attempt a risky procedure in his office. 

Nevertheless, Unosawa won his freedom and went on to perpetrate a fatal abortion on Martha Alit in 1954.

Watch Lifesaving or Criminal? on YouTube.

Sources (my apologies for the racism of many of these headlines):

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Lime 5: Aspirated Vomitus

Aspirating vomit was not an unusual mechanism of injury, with both aspiration pneumonia and respiratory arrest resulting in brain damage. If you've been following this series, or the RealChoice blog or my YouTube channel, you've encountered the deaths of Dawn Ravenell and Ta Tanisha Wesson, who began choking on their own vomit during abortions and as a result ended up dead.

Let's look at the two cases Mark Crutcher included in Lime 5.

First is Gail Mazo -- and I realized that all this time I'd had the wrong date for her death. Twenty-seven-year-old Gail went to Mt. Sinai in New York for an abortion in July of 1978, because she had ulcerative colitis. While she was under general anesthesia for the abortion, Gail began to vomit, and breathed the vomit into her lungs. The material in her lungs caused complications that killed Gail. Gail's survivors filed suit against the anesthesiologist for failure to recognize that Gail was a high-risk patient and to treat her accordingly. The family and the doctor eventually settled out of court for $800,000. (NEED ORIGINAL SOURCE DOCUMENT: New York County (NY) Supreme Court Case No. 8517-80)

Dennis W. Miller

The second is Erna Fisher. On March 15, 1988, 18-year-old Erna was nervous as 41-year-old Dennis W. Miller prepared to perform a safe and legal abortion on her on in his Kansas City, Kansas office. Miller brought Erna's mother, Ocie, into the room to hold her daughter's hand. During the abortion, Erna suddenly sat up, went into convulsions, and began to throw up. Miller continued with the abortion while Erna choked on her own vomit. He delayed another 10 minutes before summoning emergency help. His only apparent attempt to revive her was with smelling salts. When an ambulance crew arrived, they found Erna's airway still full of vomit. Miller was making no attempt at resuscitation, but was holding Erna in his arms. He justified failing to check her airway or provide her with oxygen by saying, "Since I didn't realize what was going on, I didn't think it would have made any difference." Miller later admitted that he had given Erna pain medications that he knew could cause vomiting, and that he hadn't asked her when she had last eaten.

Watch Lime 5: Aspirated Vomitus on YouTube.

December 1, 1993: Too Little, Too Late for Susanne Logan

 One example of the abortion lobby's profound indifference to women's safety is the 1992 death of Susanne Logan. What passed for "care" at the deplorable Maryland abortion mill was so appalling that even 60 Minutes stopped and paid attention.

A newspaper photo of a young woman with short, dark hair, using her splayed left hand to operate a communication device.
Susanne Logan in the nursing home
Susanne (pictured, left), a waitress originally from Visalia, California, had gone to Hillview for an abortion on September 9, 1989. There was no record of how much intravenous Brevital was administered to Susanne, or who administered the drug. Susanne was already unconscious on the table when abortionist Gideon Kioko (pictured, below) and his unlicensed nurse entered the procedure room. During the abortion, the nurse noted that Susanne's lips were turning blue. She told Kioko, who continued with the abortion. There is no record that anybody monitored her vital signs or administered oxygen.

Eventually somebody summoned emergency medical services (EMS). The EMS personnel reported that the Hillview employees seemed "very confused and did not seem to know what they were doing." EMS staff also noted that Hillview staff had put an oxygen mask on Susanne upside-down, so that she wasn't getting any oxygen.

Susanne was blue from lack of oxygen, limp, had no pulse and was not breathing. EMS workers managed to perform CPR and get Susanne's heart and lungs working again, and transported her to a hospital. Susanne remained comatose and was transferred to a nursing home. Four months after the abortion, she regained consciousness, but was paralyzed and unable to speak. She had no memory of the abortion, but was able to eventually recall having gone to the clinic.

Local prolifers visited Susanne, and bought her a device that allowed her to communicate. She was interviewed by 60 Minutes, and asked what she wanted. She replied, "To go home."

A color portrait of a heavy, middle-aged Black man in a suit and tie. He is bald and wearing eyeglasses.
Dr. Gideon Kioko
Susanne filed suit against Kioko and the clinic. Kioko briefly left Hillview to work at another abortion clinic called CYGMA Health Center, where he was made medical director. He eventually voluntarily surrendered his license in order to halt further investigation into his activities at Hillview. 

The health department slapped owner Barbara Lofton with five state health code violations, which included operating a medical laboratory without a permit and employing a nurse that was not licensed in Maryland. No action was taken against Hillview as an entity and it was permitted to keep operating.

State legislators toyed with the idea of actually holding abortion clinics to reasonable standards of care. Health officials hedged, asserting that physician licensing requirements were sufficient to protect women -- though, of course, they failed to protect women at Hillview. Acting Health Secretary Nelson J. Sabatini fretted, "Once you have a statue that requires certification or licensing, then you have an obligation that every time someone calls to go in and do an investigation. The issue very quickly becomes a question of, 'Will this process or could this process be used to limit access?'" Remember that word access. It comes up often.

In November of 1992, Susanne finally won her suit, and was awarded $2.6 million and $10,000 a month for life, to cover her expenses. Sadly, Susanne died on December 1. She went home to California only to be buried there.

Susanne's death brought the known patient deaths at Hillview to two. Debra Gray had died in 1989 after suffering injuries under circumstances similar to those which ultimately cost Susanne her life.

When 60 Minutes interviewed Barbara Radford in 1991, then-president of the National Abortion Federation, she defended the head-in-the-sand attitude the organization took toward safety issues by saying, "We want to make sure that women have choices when it comes to abortion services, and if you regulate it too strictly, you then deny women access to the service." When they asked pro-choice Maryland State Senator Mary Boergers why nothing was being done to address dangerous abortion clinics. Boergers said, "There's only so much of a willingness to try to push a group like the pro-choice movement to do what I think is the responsible thing to do because they then treat you as if you're the enemy."

That attitude toward the deplorable conditions at Hillview cost Susanne, as well as abortion patient Debra Gray their lives. This obsession with "access" at the cost of women's lives is something I've dubbed "The Compton-Carr Effect" after its most eloquent proponent, Janis Compton-Carr of the Florida Abortion Council. In 1989, an investigation by the Miami Herald revealed that Dadeland Family Planning was reusing disposable instruments, that the doctors were leaving the facility while patients were still in recovery, that there were no nurses on staff, and that "Patient recovery was monitored by employees with no formal health-care training." The stirrups on the procedure tables were covered with blood. The oxygen mask had lipstick on it from the previous patient. Abortions were being sold to women who weren't actually pregnant.

Richard Litt, who performed abortions at Dadeland until 1981, told the Miami Herald that he quit because the owners wanted him to do too many abortions in a single work day, and wanted him to do abortions too late into the pregnancy. He also complained that somebody in the clinic stole his prescription forms and forged his signature in order to get narcotics in bulk. Litt said that Dadeland "is a scum hole. I wouldn't send a dog there. They should be put in jail."

But that wasn't the worst. A dying woman was given little more than tea and sympathy. They scraped her out, handed her some oral antibiotics, and sent her home to die of raging peritonitis.

Ms. Compton-Carr led the fight to halt any state oversight of abortion facilities in the wake of the Dadeland scandal. She summed it all up to the Miami Herald:

"In my gut, I am completely aghast at what goes on at that place. But I staunchly oppose anything that would correct this situation in law."

And that "see no evil" mentality persists, as evidenced by the results we saw when prochoicers decided to turn a blind eye to Kermit Gosnell's Philadelphia "house of horrors" where two abortion patients were fatally injured and uncounted numbers of viable, live-born infants killed with a "snip" to the spinal cord. 

Abortion was legalized ostensibly to prevent women from dying due to quack abortionists. But legalization proponents did nothing to protect Susanne Logan, Debra Gray, and other women who have lost their lives to abortion quackery.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November 30, 1954: Swim Champion Dies Pursuing Hollywood Stardom

Virginia Hopkins Watson, an Illinois native, had been on a record-setting relay swimming team with Esther Williams in 1939. Virginia had herself set the world's fifty-meter record in 1938. 

When she was admitted to California Hospital on November 26, 1954, doctors had reason to believe that something fishy was going on. They provided care until around 8:00 on the evening of November 29, when they transferred her to General Hospital because her kidneys had shut down, requiring an artificial kidney machine that California Hospital didn't have.

The kidney machine was unable to save Virginia's life. She died shortly before midnight. An autopsy concluded that she had died from peritonitis, bronchopneumonia, and purulent pericarditis. An abortionist had punched a hole in her uterus with an instrument, leading to the fatal infection.

It wasn't until 4:15 the morning of November 30 that anybody reported the cause of her illness to the police for investigation. 

Virginia had been 32 years old and pursuing a Hollywood career, hoping to follow the trail blazed by her former teammate. However, after being offered a small movie role in "Jungle Jim" with "Tarzan" star Johnny Weissmuller, she became pregnant. Since she couldn't do the movie in a visible state of pregnancy, Virginia arranged to have an abortion on November 18. 

An investigation uncovered that she had arranged for a lay abortionist, Roger Fred Brenon, to come to her house and perform the abortion there. Brenon had only been paroled three days earlier after serving 11 months of a jail term for perpetrating abortions that hadn't proved fatal to the women.

Virginia and her husband, Arthur, had been married for about ten years. They were living in a home shared with Virginia's mother. 

Arthur, who had to be compelled to testify in hearings and promised immunity, wept as he told his story. When shown a photo of Virginia that had been taken in the morgue, Arthur immediately looked away and cried, "Turn it over!"

Arthur seemed to have carefully avoided learning too much about what was going on even after observing Brenon in the kitchen evidently sterilizing some instruments  by boiling them on the stove. At Virginia's instruction, Arthur also wrote a check payable to cash for $150 and gave it to Brenon. (About $870 in 2020)

After the abortion, Virginia became sick with vomiting and bleeding before passing the dead fetus. 

By November 26, Virginia had difficulty in breathing and was taken to California Hospital. 

In telling the authorities about the events that led to his wife's death, he indicated that Brenon had visited Virginia two years earlier, spent time alone with her, and went off with a check Arthur had written. During  both visits, Arthur said, he'd been under the impression that Brenon was a physician named Rogers. 

Police Officer Herman Zander said that he had questioned Brenon after Virginia's death. Brenon had hedged about whether he knew Virginia. He attributed any possible acquaintance to the fact that he and his father had been members of the club where Virginia was a swimming teacher. When Officer Zander asked Brenon if he had used a catheter and a solution of tincture of green soap to induce an abortion on Virginia, Brenon reportedly responded, "I never used a catheter before. I always used a small glass syringe."

Brenon waived trial and chose to have his case heard before Judge Clement D. Nye. Brenon was convicted of second-degree murder in Virginia's death. He received a sentence of five years to life, along with a 1- to 5-year sentence for a probation violation. 

On appeal Brenon asserted that the testimony of Virginia's husband needed corroborating evidence, since Arthur was an accomplice, not merely a witness. Arthur had claimed 5th Amendment protection during Brenon's trial. He had admitted Brenon to the house, observed him cleaning instruments, written him a check, and destroyed the cancelled check when it was returned by the bank. Brenon's appeal was denied.


November 30, 1927: The First Known Victim of Dr. Email Gleitsman

On November 30, 1927, 22-year-old homemaker Lucille van Iderstine of 1844 Cuyler Avenue, Chicago died in the Chicago office of Dr. Emil Gleitsman (pictured) from an abortion that had been performed on her that day. 

Lucille left behind a three-year-old son and  her husband, William.

Gleitsman was indicted for felony murder in Lucille's death on January 15, 1928. 

Evidently Gleitsman beat the rap on Lucille's death because he was later implicated in the abortion deaths of Jeanette Reder in 1930, Mary Colbert in 1933, Marie O'Malley in 1941, and "Maggie" Doe.

November 30, 1874: A Widower Demands Justice

 At around 2:00 on the afternoon of November 30, 1874, Charles Dix went to the Madison Street Police Station in Chicago to report that Dr. W. T. Aiken had performed a fatal abortion on his wife, Mary. Mary Dix had died the previous day, November 29, at around 12:30 a.m. Detective Flynn of Madison Street Station arrested Dr. W. F. Aikin, who had his office at 343 State Street. The warrant was sworn out for Aiken's arrest. 

Charles said that about a week earlier, Dr. Aiken had come to the house to treat one of their two children, who was sick. Charles had been napping on the sofa and overheard a conversation between Mary and Dr. Aiken that sounded as if Mary was arranging for Aikin to perform an abortion on her. When Aiken left, Charles spoke to Mary about what he'd overheard and she admitted that he was right but promised not to follow through.

Mary left the house on November 29 and was gone all afternoon and into the early evening. That night Mary was in such violent pain that Charles concluded that she'd gone through with the abortion after all. 

She was doing much worse the next day, which alarmed Charles so he summoned Aiken. A servant girl walked to the Dix house with Aiken and told Charles that Aiken had said that he hoped Mrs. Dix would keep her mouth shut if anything went wrong. Charles immediately told Aikin to leave and summoned Dr. Xelonski. He cared for Mary until Friday, when her condition became so critical that he called in Dr. Fleming and Dr. Edwards to help. The three doctors were unable to save her and she died at around 1:30 on the afternoon of December 2.

On questioning, Aiken said that he had been the Dix family physician for several months, having treated both Mr. Dix and his little daughter. On November 22 Mrs. Dix had visited his office for treatment. She came again on Tuesday the 24th, when he examined her and prescribed some medicine. She told him that Dr. White, a physician in Buffalo, had operated on her. Aiken said that he advised her not to walk home but she did so anyway. On Friday the 28th he went to the Dix home and their servant told him that he wasn't to come to the house any more. Mr. Dix, he said, acted strangely and reiterated that his services were no longer wanted. The conversation Mr. Dix had over heard was Mrs. Dix, Aiken said, telling him that she'd already attempted an abortion on herself and wanted to be examined to see if the attempt had been successful. He insisted that the servant girl was of low character and that nobody should trust anything she said. 

The next morning Dr. Fleming and the County Physician, Dr. Henrotin, performed an autopsy at the house. After hours of examining Mary's body and consulting with each other and Dr. Leonard they concluded that Mary's baby had been dead about three weeks before her death.

After an intensive investigation, however, a coroner's jury found no evidence that Mary had told anybody that she'd used any kind of instrument on herself. Witnesses included Julia Brown, Anna Merrit, and Dr. Van Buren. Dr. Wickersham testified about the cause of death as observed in the post-mortem examination. Their final conclusion was as followed:

An inquisition was taken for the People of the State of Illinois... on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd days of December, A. D. 1874, before me, John Stephens, Coroner in and for said county, upon view of the body of Mary Dix, and we find that the deceased, now lying dead at 250 West Randolph street, came to her death, Nov. 30, 1874, from primary inflammation of the womb, followed by septicemia, said inflammation being the result of an effort of the deceased to produce an abortion on herself.

Aiken, age 33, was a graduate of Maryland University. He had been a doctor for fifteen years, serving as an Army surgeon during the Civil War, during which time he was wounded at Gettysburg. He came to Chicago to practice medicine after the war and lived with his wife and son in rooms adjoining his office. 

When a reporter went to the Dix house to speak with Charles, a man greeted him at the door to tell him that Mr. Dix was worn out and distraught and in no condition to speak with a reporter. The man relayed to the reporter that Mr. Dix had been alarmed when his wife had returned from Aiken's office on Tuesday and had called in Dr. Fleming, Dr. Xelowski, and Dr. E.W. Edwards on Friday. The family had moved to Chicago from Buffalo. The couple had a 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, and had three more children who had died.


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Lime 5: Amputation

When we were writing Lime 5, we were surprised to find cases where women ended up suffering amputations -- though we only found four and we had no "secular" source for one of them. ("Secular" sources were non-prolife sources such as autopsy reports, court documents, mainstream newspaper articles, and so on. We heard from one prolife group that a woman in their city had ended up a quadruple amputee due to post-abortion sepsis, and the prolifers were bringing her groceries, but she never sued or filed with the medical board or complained to the health department, so we couldn't include her.) 

A smiling young woman of Hispanic descent, with thick dark hair and a white hat
Carolina Gutierrez

I'm not sure why Carolina Gutierrez didn't make it into the book, but it might have been a matter of timing. Her family's attorneys actually got in touch with us while we were working on the book and Carolina was fighting for her life. We were getting regular updates on her condition -- including the amputations -- and not wanting to ask the lawyers if the children were being brought to the hospital to see her and wondering where Mommy's hands and feet were. It was crushing when she died. 

With that said, here are the two cases that made it into the book:

"Naomi" underwent an abortion performed by John Roe 139 in 1981. Due to an error in administering drugs, she had to have portions of three fingers amputated. (NEED ORIGINAL SOURCE: Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. WEC073497)

"Laura" underwent an abortion performed by John Roe 320 on April 1, 1985. Immediately afterward she developed a rash and her hand swelled, but she was discharged without this being addressed. When the swelling spread up her arm, and the arm turned purple, she went to the emergency room. Her arm developed gangrene and had to be amputated. Roe admitted that he might have injected drugs incorrectly when performing the abortion. (Houston Chronicle, July 18, 1985; Suburbia Reporter, July 24 and August 21, 1985)

Watch Lime 5: Amputation on YouTube.

November 29, 1934: Case Overturned Due to Timing of Statement

Ollie Whisks Ethel Away

Ethel Irene Smith, age 20, lived with her father, William Archie Smith, in Guilford County, about six miles north of Greensboro, North Carolina. At about 6:30 pm on Monday, November 5, 1934, 35-year-old Ollie Parish pulled up outside the Smith home and honked his horn. Parish, who lived only about 3/10 of a mile from Ethel, had been "going with her" for about two and a half years, meeting her outside her home about weekly. He'd only ever gone to her home to visit her once or twice in all that time. At the sound of Ollie's horn, Ethel put on her cloak and hat and rode off with her sweetheart.

The couple drove to the home of Ethel's sister, Golda Smith Brewer, in Greensboro, arriving at around 8:30 that evening though the drive from Ethel's home was only about 15 minutes. The couple went in and chatted with Mrs. Brewer for about fifteen minutes before Ollie left, telling Ethel he'd stop by to see her on Tuesday.

Ethel slept over Monday and Tuesday nights. Ollie did not stop by as he had promised.

Ethel Takes Ill

On Wednesday morning, about about 6 a.m., Ethel called out for her sister. Mrs. Brewer found Ethel to be in severe pain, so she summoned Dr. W. P. Night. 

Dr. Knight arrived about an hour later and examined Ethel. He determined that she was laboring to expel a fetus as a result of instruments used on her to cause an abortion. On his advice, Ethel was taken to St. Leo's Hospital by ambulance. 

Doctors found a decomposed fetal skeleton in Ethel's vagina, causing blood poisoning. They also performed a curettage to remove any tissue from her uterus.

Ethel would remain hospitalized until her death on at 7 a.m. on November 29 from septic pneumonia. Strangely, there was no manner of death marked on her death certificate.

On November 12, police arrested Ollie Parish. While he was in jail, Ethel's brother-in-law, Eli Brewer, came to visit him and reported that Ollie said, "I was going to marry her; I intend to marry her."

Ethel's Story

Minnie D. Hinton was a county case supervisor. On Friday, November 9, she visited Ethel in the hospital and found her gravely ill. She visited Ethel several more time, including on November 16. Armed with information passed along to her, she knelt by Ethel's bed.

Ethel told her that Ollie was the father of her baby, and that at his insistence, over her objections, he'd taken her to Dr. Stewart.

Ollie, she said, brought her to Stewart's office on three time, the last visit being Monday, November 5. That evening Stewart had put her on a table and inserted a tube into her vagina, telling her to leave it in place until Tuesday night. He admonished her that if anybody asked her what had taken place, she was to say she had taken quinine.

Later that evening Mrs. Hinton got a call to return to the hospital. A stenographer was there, along with the stenographer's husband and a man named Mr. Ballinger. She questioned Ethel while the stenographer wrote the conversation down in shorthand.

Ethel restated that she was pregnant by Ollie Parish and that he had insisted on an abortion.

The first visit to Stewart, she said, had been on October 1, when "He put me on the table and used an instrument to open me up." He told Ethel to return on Saturday night "and he would do the rest."

Ethel gave no details on what happened on the second visit, about two weeks later.

On the third and final visit, Monday, November 5, and "put a tube in me" with instructions "to take it out the next night at the same time. I did so, and that was when I was taken so sick."

Ollie's Story

Ollie later testified that he had known Ethel Smith since she was a child. He denied ever engaging in sexual intercourse with her, but said, "I was in love with her. I think she was fond of me. We were not particularly engaged. I did not have a job sufficient to marry. We never discussed marriage."

He admitted to driving Ethel to her sister's home but said that they'd arrived at about 7:00, and that the trip had been at Ethel's request. "I did not know that she was pregnant. I did not take her to Dr. C. C. Stewart's office that night, or at any other time."

He denied having told Ethel's brother-in-law that he had intended to marry Ethel.

The Other Party

Dr. Charles C. Stewart, a Black doctor, had an office in the Stewart Building, on East Market Street in Greensboro. He, like Ollie Parish, was arrested November 12. He was released on $2,500 bond.

He testified, "I did not, during October or November, 1934, or at any other time, insert any instrument or tube, prescribe any medicine, or give any advice to a white woman named Ethel Smith for the purpose of causing her to have an abortion. I did not attend her in any capacity, nor did I have any conversation with her about quinine." 

He did say that a white woman, who resembled the photograph of Ethel Smith, did visit his office on the evening of October 15. "She seemed to be excited. I asked her what I could do for her. She said that she was pregnant and asked me if I could do something for her. I told her, no. She said somebody must do something for her. I said, I am sorry, and I have not seen her since."

He also said that he had never seen Ollie Parish until the preliminary trial in the abortion case.

The court document mentioned that "There was evidence tending to corroborate the testimony of the defendant C. C. Stewart. There was also evidence tending to show that his reputation in the city of Greensboro, both as a man and as a physician, is good.

The Outcome

The two men were originally charged with second-degree murder.

The trial brought little publicity, mostly getting mention in summaries of whatever was happening in court that week. An exception was an article noting that Stewart's attorney had peremptorily challenged a Black man on the jury list, after having quashed the indictment the previous year because there were no Black men in the jury pool. Stewart and Parish eventually managed to seat a jury with two Black men and the case could proceed.

There was also a moment of drama when Dr. Charles E. Moore, a defense witness, was charged with contempt when he showed up for court so intoxicated that he could not testify.

Both men were found guilty of manslaughter. Stewart was sentenced to 7 - 12 years, Parish 12 - 15 years. The men appealed on the grounds that Ethel's statement, taken November 16, could not be considered a deathbed statement because it was not clear at that time, 13 days before her death, that Ethel was certain to die shortly. They won their appeal for a new trial. Stewart was released on a bond of $5,000 but Parish remained in jail because he couldn't raise his $7,500 bond. 

I haven't seen documentation of a new trial, and as of September of 1936, Stewart was still a free man and practicing medicine, as evidenced by a lawsuit filed against him as a general surgeon.