Tuesday, May 24, 2022

May 24, 1879: An Abandoned Wife

Twenty-year-old Jennie Fouts, separated from her husband, lived behind the First Presbyterian Church on New York Street in Cincinnati. On May 15, she collapsed on the street. When others attended to her, Jennie reported having suffered from a dull, aching pain for several days.

She took to her bed, where she was cared for until the evening of May 19, when she was admitted to City Hospital. There, she vomited a black fluid that tested positive for blood. Since this is a symptom of the yellow fever, which had killed three people in the previous few weeks, doctors treated her for that ailment.

She died on May 24, 1879. After her death authorities made contact with a doctor who had treated Jennie prior to her admission and found her to be suffering from an abortion. She would not divulge the name of her abortionist or of her baby's father.

After news broke of Jennie's death, a man calling himself John F. Essler, and claiming to be Jennie's husband, wrote a letter to the coroner stating that he had come to Cincinnati during the first week in April and spent a night pledging to reconcile with Jennie. He had no intention of doing so, instead skipping town with another man's wife. The coroner responded with an open letter which reads in part:
You state that you are the lawful husband of Jennie Fouts; that you obtained all the facts in relation to her unfortunate death through the Indianapolis papers. You ask: "Was she decently interred?" She was, in Crown Hill. She had some true friends who stood by her to the last, and they should be honored for fidelity to that unfortunate woman. Now, sir, let me thank you for your communication. It only confirms the main points in the verdict rendered at the inquest. .... You communication has completely vindicated the honor of your unfortunate wife. Truth, justice and manhood demand that the world should know all the facts and they must and should be told. I will give you a reasonable time to publish them in your own way.
From this I conclude that Jennie's pregnancy probably resulted from that one night with her husband before he finally and totally abandoned her.

If the coroner ever made good his promise to share the secrets of Jennie's husband, they were never shared in any publication I could find.


Monday, May 23, 2022

May 23, 1985: Misdiagnosis Leads to Fatal Hemorrhage

Documents indicate that Josefina Garcia, age 37, mother of 2, died after abortion at a Family Planning Associates Medical Group (FPA) facility. 

Josefina's survivors filed suit against FPA owner Edward Campbell Allred, and 5 other doctors: Kenneth Wright, Leslie S. Orleans, Earl Baxter, Soon Sohn, and Thomas Grubbs. 

The family said that staff failed to determine that Josefina had an ectopic pregnancy before proceeding with a routine safe and legal abortion procedure by D&C on May 23, 1985. 

After her abortion, Josefina was left unattended in a recovery room, where she hemorrhaged. She died the day of her abortion. 

Regardless of whether or not abortion is legal, an ectopic pregnancy is something any abortionist should have diagnosed, if not before the abortion, then certainly after the abortion was completed and there were not pieces of fetus removed. Either way, there was little excuse for failing to detect the ectopic pregnancy. Whether Josefina lived or died would have depended on the state of medicine at the time, and the ordinary skills of doctors who were not abortionists.

According to California death records, Josefina had been born in the Philippines.

Sources: Press-Telegram 4-25-88; California Death Certificate No. 85-106566

May 23, 1982: Scanty Information in Ohio

 Life Dynamics lists 29-year-old Rhonda Ruggiero on their "Blackmun Wall" of women killed by legal abortions.

According to the information LDI put together, Rhonda underwent an abortion in May of 1982. She suddenly died of an abortion-related pulmonary embolism on May 23.

According to Ohio death records, Rhonda was a white woman born in New York who lived and died in Columbus.

LDI Sourcs: "Fatal Pulmonary Embolism During Legal Induced Abortion in the United States from 1972-1985,Á± Lawson, Herschel W., MD, Atrash, Hani K., MD, MPH, Franks, Adele L., MD, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 162, No. 4, April 1990, p. 986-990; Ohio Certificate of Death # 033296

May 23, 1929: A Death While the Doc Was Out on Bail

On May 23, 1929, 24-year-old Elizabeth Palumbo died at West End Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Amante Rongetti, age 46, signed a death certificate attributing her death to appendicitis. However, an undertaker thought that Elizabeth's death was suspicious and asked Coroner Herman Bundesen to investigate.

The coroner's physician, Dr. Thomas Dwyer, determined that Elizabeth's death had actually been caused by an abortion performed two days before her death. This led the coroner to launch an inquiry.

Dr. Bundesen released a statement saying, "Deaths resulting from criminal operations are almost invariably the result of wanton carelessness on the part of the operating physician. The quack who bungles this type of surgery and whose disregard of God and sanitation brings death to his victim is a murderer worse than a gunman."

I find it interesting that Dr. Bundesen assumed that most abortions were being performed by physicians. He said that the typical abortion doctor, upon noting that a patient is moribund from complications, will admit her to the hospital and perform an appendectomy so that he has a legal explanation for her death. 

Dr. Bundesen estimated 30,000 to 40,000 abortions annually in Cook County and said that the fatality rate was probably comparable to other surgeries, about 1%. He thus estimated 300 - 400 illegal abortion deaths in Cook County annually. I find both of these claims unlikely. 

Dr. Amante Rongetti
Elizabeth's husband, Joseph, told the coroner's jury that Elizabeth had been in pain since a previous criminal abortion. "Last Sunday night my wife complained of pains in her right side and I took her to Dr. Rongetti's offices. I had known of Rongetti through relatives and he had once treated e, saying I did not have tuberculosis but something 'close to T.B.'"

Joseph went on, "He examined my wife and he told her she had acute appendicitis. He said, 'Yes, it is an acute case. I will have to take that appendix right out.' We didn't like the idea, the pain had been so severe. My wife told  him she expected to become a mother. He said, 'Well, I will have to take care of that, too.'"

Joseph indicated that he took this to mean that Rongetti would have to perform an abortion in order to remove Elizabeth's appendix. He said that he and Elizabeth went home and discussed the situation and decided to go with Rongetti's recommendation.

The next day they went back to Rongetti's office. Rongetti, Joseph said, sent him home and took Elizabeth to the hospital himself. "On Tuesday morning he operated. I saw her Tuesday and she said she felt all right. I saw her Wednesday and she said the same, but she did not look well. On Thursday morning they called me and said she was bad. After I got to the hospital, they stalled for a while but finally told me she was dead."

Dr. Dwyer, who had performed the autopsy, said that the incision Rongetti had made when he'd operated on Elizabeth was in the center of her abdomen, not in the location to perform an appendectomy. Dr. Bundesen and Dwyer both testified that there would be no need to perform an abortion in order to remove an appendix.

Rongetti was held by the coroner on June 12 for having perpetrated the fatal abortion. When the investigation ended, Rongetti vanished. He turned himself in on July 2 and was released after only a few minutes because he had arranged in advance for his attorney to bail him out.

Authorities also put West End Hospital under scrutiny, noting that on January 15 of that year the fire prevention engineer had cited ten violations there. The hospital's owner, Dr. Benjamin Breakstone, had himself been investigated by the coroner on other occasions.

Rongetti managed to stall the trial for over a year. When the jury was chosen, jurors were required to pledge that if legally appropriate, they would sentence Rongetti to death.

However, he was acquitted after three ballots. The first stood 7 to 5 for acquittal but after three further hours of deliberation the five jurors voting for conviction were won over by the majority.

All of these goings-on surrounding Elizabeth's death took place while Rongetti was out on bail pending a new trial in the abortion death of Loretta Enders, for which he'd been sentenced to die in the electric chair. He won a new trial and Rongetti was found guilty of manslaughter in Loretta's death. He was out on bail in the Enders case when Elizabeth died.

The medical board did not agree with the jury in Elizabeth's case. They moved to revoke Rongetti's license while he was out on bail pending appeal of a manslaughter conviction. Their grounds were that he was under conviction for manslaughter, and that he had committed gross malpractice in the deaths of both Loretta Enders and Elizabeth Palumbo. Rongetti dragged the process out but did eventually lose his license.


Sunday, May 22, 2022

May 22, 2000: One of Seventeen Known Deaths at NAF Flagship

The Fresno Bee reported that Family Planning Associates Medical Group (FPA) and abortionist Kenneth Wright were being sued by the family of 38-year-old Kimberly Neil, who died after Wright performed a safe and legal abortion on her. To the best of my knowledge, this makes at least 17 dead abortion patients for FPA. 

The suit says that FPA staff failed to properly monitor Kimberly, and failed to treat her properly when she stopped breathing during the abortion, performed on May 2, 2000. Kimberly slipped into a coma from which she never recovered. She died May 22. She left behind three children.

Family Planning Associates Medical Group is a member of the prestigious National Abortion Federation, which purportedly assures that all members adhere to the highest standards of safety and care. I know of 16 women who have died after abortions at FPA. In addition to Kimberly, they are:

  • Denise Holmes, age 24, 1970
  • Patricia Chacon, age 16, 1984
  • Mary Pena, age 43, 1984
  • Josefina Garcia, age 37, 1985
  • Lanice Dorsey, age 17, 1986
  • Joyce Ortenzio, age 32, 1988
  • Tami Suematsu, age 19, 1988
  • Deanna Bell, age 13, 1992
  • Susan Levy, age 30, 1992
  • Christina Mora, age 18, 1994
  • Ta Tanisha Wesson, age 24, 1995
  • Nakia Jorden, 1998
  • Maria Leho, 1999
  • Kimberly Neil, 2000
  • Maria Rodriguez, age 22, 2000
  • Chanelle Bryant, age 22, 2004
  • "Kyla Ellis," age 23, 2014


Saturday, May 21, 2022

May 21, 1939: Third Known Death of a Gertrude Pitkanen Patient

A B&W portrait of a middle-aged, plump white woman with round eyeglasses and short, curly, dark hair.
Gertrude Pitkanen
On May 21, 1939, 37-year-old widow Hilja Johnson of Butte, Montana, died at Butte's Murray Hospital from septic complications of an incomplete abortion. Since her death certificate says, "Infection from gas producing bacteria," she most likely died from a Clostridium perfringens infection, most commonly known as gas gangrene.

Hilja had been employed by the W.P.A as a seamstress. She had been born in Wyoming on March 16, 1902 to immigrants from Finland.

A surgical nurse, Gertrude Pitkanen, admitted at the coroner's inquest that Hilja had come to her office, and that she had later visited Hilka at her home and advised her to go to a hospital. Pitkanen was charged with murder in Hilja's death.

She fled, but was located about a year later, living near Columbia Gardens. She was brought to court in a wheelchair, pleaded innocent, and was jailed in lieu of $5,000 bond. The charges were dropped in 1940, for reasons not reported.

Pitkanen, born in 1978 in Lincoln, Nebraska, had completed nurse's training at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. She moved to Butte in 1907, and was one of the first surgical nurses at ST. James Community Hospital, assisting her husband, Dr. Gustavus Pitkanen. Dr. Pitkanen was an abortionist until he was jailed for sedition in 1917, whereupon his wife took up the curette.

Pitkanen had earlier been charged with the abortion deaths of Violet Morse (August, 1929) and Margie Fraser (October, 1936).  A woman who was a student nurse at St. James Hospital in Bute remembered Pitkanen's victims. "They died horrible deaths from infection," she told a reporter from the Montana Standard.

The fact that Pitkanen had married a former Butte police detective might explain the lack of prosecution in spite of the multiple deaths.


May 21, 1900: A Mystery Abortion in Pittsburgh

According to her husband, Baptist, 26-year-old Pittsburgh homemaker Mary Jane Douds had been in ill health for four years. When he'd come home from work on the morning of Monday, May 18, 1900, he found her sick in bed. He wanted to call a doctor, but “she would not have it.” Baptist figured that his wife must be menstruating, since she always had difficult periods.

When he came home on Saturday, he found Mary Jane in even worse condition. He sent for Dr. Staub, who treated her four or five times before recommending that she go to the hospital on Sunday. Mary Jane refused, asking for her old doctor, Dr. Heurits of Turtle Creek, who came to the house at about noon.

Heurits examined Mary Jane, and said “there was no danger for her to keep quiet and she would be all right in a few days.” He prescribed medication for Mary Jane, but she couldn't keep it down.

Baptist sent for another doctor, J.J. Green, who arrived at about 8:30 on the evening of May 20, then sent for his assistant, who stayed to provide care to Mary Jane under Green's supervision until about 3 a.m. She got weaker and finally lost consciousness a few minutes before her death at around 9:00 a.m. On May 21.

Green diagnosed her cause of death as septic peritonitis from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.

Source: Records in Allegheny County Coroner archives

Thursday, May 19, 2022

May 19, 1932: One of Six Deaths Blamed on Dr. Lou E. Davis

Irene Kirschner
, age 24, died on May 19, 1932 at West Suburban Hospital in Chicago. Before her death, she named Dr. Lou E. Davis as the abortionist who had fatally injured her.

When police went to arrest Davis for Irene's death, they found another abortion-injured woman at her house on Logan Boulevard, but no sign of Davis.

According to Illinois death records, Irene was a Chicago native, born to Austrian immigrants John and Bernice Briske Kirschner. She worked as a housekeeper. Her high school yearbook noted that she focused on commercial studies and was active in swimming and the dramatic club. Her nickname was Babs.

For reasons that I haven't been able to yet determined, the coroner's jury cleared Davis, though she was a well-known abortionist.
Low-quality newspaper picture of a white woman, in profile, with short curly light-colored hair and a dark hat coming to a sharp peak at the back
Dr. Lou E. Davis
Davis was also implicated in five other Chicago abortion deaths:  Anna Adler in 1913, Mary Whitney in 1924, Anna Borndal and Esther V. Wahlstrom in 1928, and Gertrude Gaesswitz in 1934.


May 19, 1985: Mystery Abortion in California

The autopsy report for 22-year-old Joan Camp attributed her death to "complications apparently as a result of a recent termination of pregnancy."  Joan had been found unconscious in the morning on May 18, 1985. She was rushed to Memorial Hospital in San Leandro, California, where doctors tried to save her life.  Their efforts were futile. Joan died the next morning, May 19, 1985, from clots in her lungs.

The CDC would have classified Joan's death as "unknown" abortion, because they could not find out where the abortion was done. The CDC does not count an abortion death as a legal abortion death unless they can verify that the person who performed the abortion was a licensed physician, or another legally qualified medical professional in states that allow non-physician abortions.

Sources: California Certificate of Death # 85-069355; Alameda County Coroner’s Report # 85-1122; Life Dynamics "Blackmun Wall"

May 19, 1992: Homeless Woman Found Dead in Car, High-Volume Abortion Clinic at Fault

The letters "FPA" inside a box superimposed upon a large cursive letter F

Susan Levy was 30 years old when she underwent a safe and legal abortion at the Family Planning Associates in Mission Hills, California on April 9, 1992. FPA is a member of the National Abortion Federation.  

Susan, originally from Florida, was homeless and was living in a car owned by a friend. 

On May 19, 1992, she was found dead in that car. The cause of death was determined to be from an infection that developed from fetal tissue that was not removed during her abortion. (Sources: California Death Certificate No. 92-121785; Los Angeles County (CA) Autopsy Report No. 92-04539)

Other abortion patients to have died at FPA facilities include:

May 19, 1995: Death By the Doctor With a "License to Lie"

Bald, middle-aged physician in his lab coat, with light from venitian blinds shinging on his face
Dr. Alberto Hodari
Chivon Williams, just days short of her 17th birthday, died on May 19, 1995 after an abortion performed by National Abortion Federation member Alberto Hodari in Detroit. 

According to a lawsuit, a suction abortion was performed on Chivon at about 11:30 a.m. She was discharged from the facility at about 1:10 p.m. even though she reported stomach and chest pains. 

A short time after returning home, she was found unresponsive, and pronounced dead at 5:17 p.m. Fieger Times, a newsletter put out by the law firm representing 15-year-old Tamiia Russell's family in her abortion malpractice death case against Hodari, states that Chivon had been in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Hodari, who was recorded telling Medical Students for Choice that he is "licensed to lie,"  was also implicated in the abortion death of Regina Johnson.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

May 18, 2001: Fatal Anesthesia Complications


Dr. Ronald Blatt

Cynthia Quintana-Morales, a healthy 30-year-old mother of two, entrusted herself to the care of Dr. Ronald D. Blatt at Eastside Gynecology. She reported for her abortion appointment on May 7, 2001.

The facility administered Brevital to sedate Cynthia, and she went into cardiac arrest. She was transported to Lennox Hill Hospital, where she died of anoxic encephalopathy on May 18. She left a 16-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter motherless.

Cynthia's husband of ten years, Andrew, sued Blatt and the practice, citing failing to use reasonable care, neglecting to heed Cynthia's condition, departing from accepted practices, performing contraindicated procedures, and lack of informed consent. Andrew asserted that his wife never would have consented to the abortion had she been adequately informed of the specific risks to her.

Blatt promptly closed the practice and reopened it as East Side Gynecology Services, effectively protecting his practice from financial liability.

Cynthia's husband settled with Blatt on March 30, 2008 for $1.25 million. Blatt's insurance covered the settlement.

Thanks to Operation Rescue for these sources:

Monday, May 16, 2022

May 16, 1916: Was Anna Albers Really Responsible?

On May 16, 1916, 25-year-old Lucile Bersworth died in Chicago's German-American hospital after telling authorities that Dr. Anna Albers had perpetrated an abortion on her.

She also mentioned a man named Fred Krause, so he might have been her baby's father.

Though Albers was held by the coroner and indicted by a Grand Jury, the case never went to trial. She was rather a respectable physician, at least as of 1912, so she seems an unlikely abortionist.