Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Referred to her Death: Karnamaya Mongar

 Just When Life Seemed Safe 

Headshot of a middle-aged Bhutanese woman with her hair pulled back and a faint smile on her face
Karnamaya Mongar
At the age of 41, Karnamaya Mongar had survived nearly 20 years in a refugee camp in Nepal. What she was unable to survive was a visit to an American abortion clinic.

Karnamaya, her husband, Ash, their three children and one grandchild arrived in the United States on July 19, 2009 as part of a resettlement program. 
Karnamaya was more than 18 weeks pregnant when went to a clinic in Virginia for an abortion. But the Virginia clinic, and another in Washington, D.C., did not do abortions that late in the pregnancy. One of the clinics referred Karnamaya to Kermit Gosnell's Women’s Medical Society in Philadelphia because Gosnell had a reputation for performing abortions regardless of gestational age.

Karnamaya went with her daughter to the Gosnell's clinic on November 18, 2009. That afternoon,
Latosha Lewis, who had completed a medical assistant course but had never been certified, conducted the clinic’s version of a “pre-examination,” which was so scanty it didn't even involve weighing the patient. Falsified informed consent forms were added to Karnamaya's file.  

After the "pre-examination" was done and the paperwork was completed, Randy Hutchins, a part-time physician’s assistant who worked without State Board of Medicine approval, inserted laminaria to dilate Karnamaya’s cervix and administered Cytotec to soften it. Hen then told Karnamaya to return the next day to complete the abortion.

Drugged Up

Kermit Gosnell's Philadelphia
"house of horrors" where
Karnamaya Mongar was drugged to
death by unqualified staff.
Karnamaya arrived at the clinic on November 19 around 2:30 p.m., accompanied by her daughter and her daughter's mother-in-law. At the front desk, Tina Baldwin gave Karnamaya her initial medication – Cytotec to soften the cervix and to cause contractions; and Restoril, a drug that causes drowsiness.  After giving Karnamaya the medicine, Baldwin told her to wait in the recovery area until the doctor arrived to perform the abortion.

Lynda Williams and Sherry West, who were without any medical-related qualifications medicated Karnamaya in the “recovery room” while she waited for Gosnell.

Karnamaya's daughter, Yashoda Gurung, told the Grand Jury that she waited with her mother in the recovery room for several hours. During that time, between 3:30 and 8:00 p.m., her mother was given five or six doses of oral medicine and repeated injections into an IV line in her hand.  As usual at Gosnell's clinic, no equipment was available to ensure proper monitoring of vital signs.


A handwritten, hand-colored chart of names for anesthesia concoctions and the amount of each drug to go in each
Anesthesia chart drawn up by 15-year-old
Gosnell employee Ashley Baldwin
Yashoda did not know what drugs her mother was given, but typically employees gave repeated injections of the concoction of sedative drugs that Gosnell referred to as a “twilight” dose. Each of these “twilight” doses, repeated a number of times at the discretion of the unlicensed workers, consisted of 75 milligrams of Demerol, 12.5 milligrams of promethazine, and 7.5 milligrams of diazepam.

The standard practice was for Gosnell's untrained staff to give repeated doses of sedative and pain-killing drugs to the patients, without regard to a woman's size or weight, whenever it was deemed necessary by the untrained staff. For example, if the woman started moaning, she was presumed to be in pain, and would be given another dose of drugs. Karnamaya, at only 4'11" in height and 110 lb. in weight, would have been endangered by a dose appropriate for an average-sized women, much less by the massive doses administered at Women's Medical Society.

A little before 8:00 p.m., West and Williams sent Karnamaya's daughter to another waiting area. She was left there, with no idea what was happening to her mother until the ambulance arrived after 11 p.m.

Williams helped Karnamaye into the procedure room, put her on the table, and drugged her again, this time with the clinic's "custom" dose of 75 mg. of Demerol, 12.5 mg. of promethazine, and 10 mg. of diazepam. The heavily drugged patient was then left, unattended and with no monitoring equipment, alone in the procedure room.

Cardiac Arrest

Kermit Gosnell mugshot
Kermit Gosnell mugshot
Sherry West told detectives that, some time after sedating Karnamaya, Williams came out of the procedure room, yelling for help. West said that when she later entered the procedure room, Gosnell was there trying to perform CPR on Karnamaya. Lynda Williams summoned Eileen O’Neill , an unlicensed medical school graduate who worked at the clinic, from her second-floor office.

O'Neill told the Grand Jury that she thought Karnamaya was already dead by the time she got to the procedure room, but she took over administering CPR because Gosnell wasn't doing it correctly. Gosnell, meanwhile, left to retrieve the clinic’s only “crash cart” (the emergency kit to treat a cardiac arrest) from the third floor. After returning with the kit, however, Gosnell did not use any of the drugs in it to try to save Karnamaya's life. Instead he just looked through them and seemed pleased that they were up to date. He seemed purely interested in keeping outsiders from finding out that the crash cart had been nowhere near the procedure room while patients were being sedated.

O’Neill testified that Gosnell told her not to administer Narcan, a drug that could have reversed the effects of the Demerol. She said that Gosnell told her it would not work on Demerol. O’Neill also said that she tried to use the defibrillator to revive Karnamaya, but that the paddles did not work.

Emergency Services

One of Gosnell's filthy
procedure rooms
It was after 11 p.m. – long after O’Neill had decided that Karnamaya was dead and returned to her office – that Lynda Williams finally asked Ashley Baldwin to call 911. Ashley then went into the procedure room and found Gosnell alone with his dead patient. He told Ashley to turn in the pulse oximeter, which they should have been using all along to monitor Karnamaya's pulse and blood oxygen. This surprised Ashley, since Gosnell knew that the pulse oximeter had been broken for months.

Emergency personnel arrived at 11:13. They found Karnamaya lifeless in the procedure room and Gosnell just standing there, not doing anything. The paramedics immediately intubated Karnamaya to give her oxygen, and started an intravenous line to administer emergency medications, since for some reason clinic staff had removed the IV line they'd been using all day to drug their patient. They also failed to tell the paramedics about the drugs they had administered.

Color photograph showing a railed entrance to a door blocked by a heavy security gate with a large lock. Three security barred windows are to the right of the door.
The locked back door to Women's Medical Society
The medics were able to restore weak heart activity. But getting Karnamaya to the ambulance was
 needlessly and dangerously time-consuming because the emergency exit was locked. Gosnell sent Ashley to the front desk to look for the key, but she could not find it. Ashley told the grand jury that a firefighter needed to cut the lock, but “It took him [20 minutes]… because the locks is old.” Karnamaya's daughter and friend ran outside, crying, and witnessed this. After cutting the locks, responders had to waste even more time struggling to maneuver through the cramped hallways that could not accommodate a stretcher.

When the ambulance arrived at the hospital shortly after midnight, Karnamaya had no heartbeat, no blood pressure, and was not breathing. After  aggressive resuscitation efforts, doctors were able to restore a weak heartbeat. Karnamaya was then sent to the Intensive Care Unit, where she remained on life support until family members could make the trip from Virginia to say good-bye. She was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m. on November 20. She had died of a massive overdose of Demerol.


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Quackery is Nothing New: The Death of Georgia McGill

On November 17, 1935, Georgia Marie McGill, 21-year-old daughter of oil company superintendent George McGill, died from an apparent criminal abortion in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Marie's father identified Dr. W. R. Mitchell as the perpetrator. Mitchell was already a reputed abortionist, and police had already gotten many complaints about him prior to Marie's death. He was implicated in about half a dozen other abortion deaths, but I have been unable to get more details about those cases.

Mitchell was arrested and tried but the case ended with a hung jury. After the trial, Mitchell resumed his abortion business and was arrested again for his practice.

Marie's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about abortion in this era, see Abortion in the 1930s.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The True Meaning of a Fake Clinic and the Death of "Adelle"

Headshot of a grim-expressioned middle-aged Korean woman wearing wire-rim glasses
Dr. Mi Yong Kim
Dr. Mi Yong Kim had a troubled past. She had voluntarily surrendered her New York license in 2000 when threatened with revocation for her grotesque mishandling of a 1997 abortion patient. Kim had told the patient that she was 8 weeks pregnant, but upon starting the procedure realized from the massive amount of amniotic fluid that the patient was far more advanced in her pregnancy. Kim instructed the mother to go to the hospital. There, at the urging of a nurse, Kim asked for an ultrasound scan to determine the size of the baby's head -- which indicated a gestational age of just past 26 weeks. Though the baby's heart rate was slow, he or she was still alive. Kim tried so stimulate labor using drugs. Though the baby died, the mother didn't go into labor so Kim performed a C-section and delivered the dead baby. Documents don't indicate if at any point Kim informed the woman that her baby was past the age of viability and could have been saved.

The Virginia medical board did not suspend or yank Kim's license. She was instead placed under stipulations regarding her use of anesthesia in her office and her record-keeping. While under close supervision, she made improvements and had her license fully restored without stipulations on May 8, 2000. 

It was thus that there was nobody keeping a close eye on Mi Yong Kim when a 26-year-old woman identified as "Patient A" (I'll call her "Adelle"), went into Kim's private practice, which was named "Landmark Women's Center," giving the impression that it was a clinic.

Kim did not order proper lab studies, document an appropriate history, or perform a proper exam on Adelle before performing a safe and legal abortion on her on November 16, 2002. Kim administered 25 mg of Versed to Adelle, in response to her reports of pain, over a 10-minute period, without giving the medicine time to take effect.

Kim told the medical board that she did not give Adelle any analgesia for pain because she gives enough Versed to cause amnesia so that the patient can't remember the pain. The board noted that Kim lacked judgment and knowledge of intravenous conscious sedation and that she was not fit to supervise a CRNA.

At the end of the abortion, Kim noted that Adelle's pulse oximeter reading was only 70%, an alarming finding. Kim thought she found a pulse, so she did not assess whether or not Adelle was breathing. She simply ordered her staff to give Adelle oxygen by mask and call 911.

Kim administered Romazicon to reverse the effects of the Versed, but did not notice that Adelle had gone into cardiac arrest. As such, Kim made no effort to resuscitate her. The ambulance crew arrived and transported Adelle to the hospital, where she was declared dead from possible air embolism.

The medical board noted that Kim was not certified in Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support, nor was she or anybody else on her staff qualified to perform an intubation or use crash cart equipment. Kim did not document the operative report for Adelle. Kim told the board that the police had told her not to make any further notes in her file.

It's striking how the abortion lobby attacks prolifers for running "fake clinics" -- pregnancy resource centers that don't even pretend to be clinics -- but never goes after doctors like Kim who disguise their offices as clinics in order to give the impression that they've being more closely overseen by officials than they really are. 

Kim has since surrendered her medical license but continues to operate Nova Women's Health Care in Fairfax.




Thursday, November 14, 2019

News to Me: The Death of Roselle Owens

I was searching for the newest case of Planned Parenthood badness to show a skeptical friend who dismissed example after example after example because the incidents had taken place too long ago to have any reflection on what sort of organization Planned Parenthood is today -- as if at some point in the recent past they bottomed out, went into some sort of rehab, and found a sponsor.

What I stumbled across wasn't recent. It was just tragic. Needless and tragic.

A smiling Black teenage girl with long, straightened hair, wearing a low-cut white sweather and holding up a bottle of sparking cider.
Roselle proudly celebrating non-alcoholic
just two months before her fatal abortion.
Roselle Owens was a vibrant 17-year-old high school student, thinking ahead to college, when she discovered that she was pregnant in 2009.

She made the mistake of entrusting herself to Planned Parenthood of New York City. She went to the Margaret Sanger Center for an abortion on the morning of April 11. Dr. Gerald Zupnick, who has a history of malpractice, performed the abortion under general anesthesia. The anesthesia was contracted out to employees of Somnia, also called Outpatient Anesthesia Services.

Zupnick noted in the operative report that the abortion was "uneventful," completing the procedure at 9:20 a.m. Shortly thereafter, staff found that Roselle's breathing was labored and her blood oxygen levels had fallen. A lawsuit filed by Roselle's half-brother on behalf of himself, Roselle's father, and her twin brother asserted that neither Somnia employees, Zupnick, or Planned Parenthood's other staff properly monitored Roselle. The ambulance was not summoned for her until 9:43 a.m., over 20 minutes after the abortion was completed. EMS services transported Roselle to St. Vincent's Medical Center at 10:05 a.m.

Staff at the hospital were able to stabilize Roselle, but the damage had already been done. Roselle remained on a ventilator at St. Vincent's until her death on September 8. She died when she should have been just getting settled into her new college life.

Both Zupnick and Planned Parenthood settled off-the-books, thus ending the paper trail.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Life and Death in Abortion Land: William Waddill and the Case of Baby W

Most people presented with a breathing newborn -- even a tiny, premature newborn -- would not hesitate to seek care for the baby. It seems to go without saying that a medical facility would be the safest place for a vulnerable baby. Thus, people tend to be shocked into disbelief at the idea that a newborn could be left to die or outright killed. But the world of abortion is not the world that most people live in. The 1977 case of Dr. William Baxter Waddill and "Baby W" illustrates how the abortion facility culture -- what I call Abortion Land -- views babies very differently from the way the rest of us do.

Mary W., a high school student, was examined by an ob/gyn on February 22, 1977, and found to be 28 weeks pregnant. This ob/gyn counseled that Mary's pregnancy was too advanced for an abortion, and advised Mary to consider an adoption plan. Somehow, Mary learned that Waddill would be willing to do an abortion, which he initiated by saline injection on March 2 at Westminster Community Hospital in California.

Mary's baby, a 2 lb, 8 oz infant girl, was expelled that evening and discovered by a nurse who was attending Mary.

The nurse clamped the cord and was about to put the baby in a bucket for transport to the pathology lab, when she noticed that the baby was moving and crying. In a normal hospital, the nurse would have, without hesitation, have taken the baby straight to the nursey for care. But this nurse was not working in a normal hospital setting. She was on an abortion ward. She was working in Abortion Land. Live babies weren't to be expected. They constituted a dismaying surprise. Thus, the nurse was uncertain about how to proceed. Another nurse suggested that regardless of any signs of life, the baby should just go into the bucket and off to the pathology lab per routine. Yet another nurse testified that she had seen the infant move but said nothing about this to avoid distressing Mary. Thus a third Abortion Land nurse, presented with a crying baby, was left uncertain about how to proceed. The first nurse summoned the nursing supervisor, who quite likely supervised the entire ob/gyn department and thus was not a resident of Abortion Land, like the three other nurses. The supervising nurse noted that the baby was pink and making sucking motions. She did whatever any normal person would do. She sent the baby to the nursery and summoned the mother's attending physician -- in this case, Waddill.

Once the baby was in the nursery, she was no longer in Abortion Land, so the nurses there responded to her as they would to any baby. One nurse cleared the infant's throat, placed her in an isolette, and charted a heartrate of 88. A neonatal ICU nurse began providing respiratory assistance on the little girl, and asked for help performing an intubation, which is routine NICU care.

Waddill arrived and chased everybody away. Several witnesses heard Waddill instruct staff "not to do a goddam thing for the baby." An ER doctor -- who evidently had noticed that something was up and had popped in to see for himself what was going on -- saw Waddill squeeze the umbilical cord, whereupon the "child jerked its body and gasped for air."

Waddill evidently had prepared for the birth of a living baby -- though not, one would guess, one that had been removed from Abortion Land and transported to the NICU. A tape was entered into evidence of a call from Waddill to a pediatrician, Dr. Ronald Cornelsen. In this call, Waddill told Dr. Cornelsen to come to the hospital, because the law required a pediatrician to assist when a newborn was in distress. Waddill said, "If we all tell the same story, there will be no trouble. ... So long as we stand together, no one anywhere can make any accusations anywhere. ... Do not get squirrely. Just tell them exactly as we've discussed. Just say you went in, there was no heartbeat and you left."

Dr. Cornelsen testified that when he arrived at the hospital the infant, a baby of about 31 weeks gestation, was breathing and had a heart rate of 60-70. There were bruises on her neck. Dr. Cornelson said that Waddill told him, "Sorry to get you in this mess. We had a baby that came out live from a saline abortion, and it can't live!" Dr. Cornelsen testified that he saw Waddill press on the infant's neck, saying, "I can't find the goddam trachea," and "This baby won't stop breathing." Dr. Cornelsen testified, "I said, 'Why not just leave the baby alone?' He said, 'This baby can't live or it will be a big mess.'" Waddill requested potssium choloride, for an injection to stop the baby's heart, but Dr. Cornelsen wouldn't let the nurse get it. Dr. Cornelsen said Waddill also asked for a bucket to drown the baby in.

Waddill later claimed that he hadn't strangled the baby, that she had died of natural causes before he even arrived at the hospital to deal with the delivery. He asserted that all of his actions were done in the best interests of the mother and the baby. However, having died in the nursery rather than in the abortion ward meant that rather than going into the medical waste incinerator, Mary's baby was afforded an autopsy, which backed what the witnesses said.

A pathologist examined the baby's lungs and concluded that she'd been alive for at least 30 minutes. Though saline causes capillaries to break down and thus gives the aborted baby a mottled, bruised look, the neck trauma was "consistent with manual pressure, and inconsistent with saline." The pathologist also testified that only the infant's placenta and small bowel seemed to have been "significantly affected by the saline," meaning that Mary's baby had not suffered fatal injury from exposure to the saline in-utero. Had the nurses in the NICU been allowed to proceed, Mary's baby would almost certainly have lived. The autopsy found the cause of the baby's death to have been "manual strangulation." Her gestational age was determined to have been 29 to 31 weeks at autopsy, consistent with the observations of Dr. Cornelson.

All told, over 13 weeks of testimony, the witnesses described three unsuccessful attempts by Waddill to strangle Mary's baby, and the fourth, successful, attempt. But during deliberations, the jury asked for clarification of a procedural point. A few phone calls to clarify the point led to the discovery by the attorneys and judge that there was a definition of "death" in the California health and safety code that the jury had not been informed of. Because the testimony hadn't directly addressed this particular definition of "death," the jurors became hopelessly deadlocked over whether Waddill's actions, though clearly causing what laymen would consider the "death" of the baby, had caused what the law would call the "death" of the baby. The judge had to delcare a mistrial. A second jury was also deadlocked, and the charges against Waddill were eventually dismissed.

Mary later sued Waddill, saying that he'd never told her that her baby might been born alive, and that she never would have consented to the abortion had she known this was possible. She said that Waddill "willfully and unlawfully used force and violence upon the person of the baby [W.] ... causing the decedent baby [W.] to die."

Waddill continued to perform abortions in California, and as of 2000 was working for National Abortion Federation member Family Planning Associates Medical Group, a chain where the following women and girls suffered fatal abortions: 


In a society where a jury can't even convict a man who strolls into a NICU and strangles a baby in front of half a dozen witnesses, it truly is astonishing that Gosnell was convicted.




Saturday, November 02, 2019

Latachie: Not Even Noticed

The idea that the abortion researchers at the Centers for Disease Control actually care about women's deaths from safe, legal abortion should be blown out of the water by looking at how they dealt with the death of Latachie Veal.



Latachie was 17 years old, and 22 weeks pregnant, when Robert Dale Crist performed an abortion on her at Houston's West Loop Clinic November 2, 1991. According to Latachie's family, she bled heavily at the clinic, and cried out to the staff for help. They told her that her symptoms were normal, and sent her home. Several hours later, Latachie stopped breathing. Her brother-in-law called 911 while her sister did CPR, to no avail. Latachie was dead on arrival at Ben Taub Hospital.

If Latachie's death certificate had been filled out properly, with the notation of the abortion in the proper box, using the proper ICD-9 code, then theoretically the National Center for Health Statistics would spot the abortion code and report it. But most states send only a statistical sample of their death certificate data to the NCHS. So the CDC would be notified of Latachie's death through the NCHS only if the death certificate was properly filled out, and Latachie's death certificate was among those abstracted and sent to the NCHS.

But still, according to abortion defenders, Latachie's death would nevertheless be automatically reported to the Centers for Disease Control. They're not clear on who is supposed to report the death. Was West Loop Clinic supposed to report it? Was Crist supposed to report it? Was Ben Taub Hospital supposed to report it? Was the medical examiner supposed to report it? Was the Texas Department of Health supposed to report it? The CDC says it gets abortion death information from abortionists, abortion facilities, hospitals, and state health departments, but it does not mention that the reporting is not mandatory.

This does not mean that Latachie's death went utterly unnoticed.

Latachie's family filed suit, retaining the flamboyant "Racehorse" Haynes as their attorney. The case was highly publicized, both in Texas and in Missouri, where Crist had performed a fatal abortion on Diane Boyd, a 19-year-old developmentally disabled woman who had been raped in the institution where she'd lived.

The mainstream publicity went beyond the usual newspaper articles, with Crist giving television interviews calling the publicity "media hype" and "a political event." Haynes retorted, "I wish he would have a copy of the 911 tape.... If he would talk to the parents, if he would talk to the sister as she gave her CPR or talk to the brother-in-law as she was breathing her last breath and see then if he thinks it's a media event."

With all this mainstream publicity in two states, prolife organizations picked up the story, and it was reported in prolife newsletters around the nation.

A lot of people very quickly found out about the abortion death of 17-year-old Latachie Veal. But did the CDC?

At the 1992 National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar in Dallas, Crist spoke openly of Latachie's death. (He did not, of course, mention her name; I've concluded that he's discussing Latachie's death, since there's been no evidence of any another 17-year-old abortion patient of his who died in 1991.) Crist blamed the death not on malpractice, but on disseminated intravascular coagulopathy -- a clotting disorder that can be triggered during an abortion.

Present at that Risk Management Seminar, where Crist chattered about Latachie's death, were two -- count 'em -- two-- staffers from the Centers for Disease Control's abortion surveillance activities area: Stanley Henshaw and Lisa Koonin. Henshaw's presence isn't quite as remarkable as Koonin's. It was Lisa Koonin, specifically, whose job it was to "verify" abortion deaths, and obtain copies of death certificates. These she was to pass on to a research fellow, Clarice Green, who would then gather the full information about the case.

In spite of all the publicity, in spite of the lawsuit, in spite of the prolifers shouting from the rooftops, in spite of the abortionist discussing the death at an event attended by the very woman whose job it was to notice abortion deaths, the Centers for Disease Control did not notice Latachie's death. Their 1991 Abortion Surveillance Report, published in May of 1995, did not even make any mention of abortion mortality. And when we at Life Dynamics filed a request for information about abortion deaths, we found that the CDC counted zero -- count 'em -- zero -- abortion deaths among women of Latachie's race in the 15 - 19 age range. In other words, they didn't even notice.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if the CDC failed to notice this highly-publicized death, discussed openly at an event attended by two of their abortion surveillance staffers, exactly what does it take to get them to notice an abortion death? And how can we even pretend to believe that any serious attempt to accurately count abortion deaths was being made?