Seventeen-year-old Deborah Ann Lozinski had languished for two months in a coma, hospitalized after an abortion at Medical Care Center in Woodbridge, New Jersey.
On June 21, 1985, Deborah's parents filed suit against Dr. Scheininger, Dr. Sinha, and other staff for failing to properly screen and examine Deborah prior to her abortion. They also alleged that staff failed to properly monitor their daughter's vital signs during the abortion, failing to quickly detect and properly treat respiratory difficulty. As a result, Deborah suffered the brain damage that had caused her coma.
Shortly after midnight on June 22, a hospital staffer checked on Deborah and found her dead; she evidently had died shortly before midnight.
A suit by patient C.J. alleged that she was referred to Planned Parenthood of Mid-Michigan for an abortion. She attended a counseling appointment on June 22, 1987, and expressed concern that her pregnancy might be tubal or otherwise abnormal because the of "spotty watery bleeding she was experiencing and because this pregnancy was unlike her previous pregnancies." C.J. was assured that a doctor would examine her on June 23, just prior to the abortion, and decide if an ultrasound was necessary. C.J. arrived on June 23 for abortion, was given medicine, and was "instructed to put on a hospital gown and to get on a table and put her feet into stirrups." Seabrook "appeared and attempted to abort her pregnancy without examining Plaintiff." C.J. heard Seabrook comment that he was not "getting much material." C.J. slept in recovery for around 1 hour, was given discharge instructions from staff, and was given a prescription in case of heavy bleeding.
Three or four days later, C.J. again experienced watery bleeding and backache, and she "felt tired, depressed and very pregnant." She attempted to contact the clinic on June 27, and left a message on their answering machine. Her call was returned by Nurse Shaw who told her "that her feelings of pregnancy could last for several weeks and assured her that they would go away." Shaw "also allegedly pulled Plaintiff's chart and read part of the chart to Plaintiff and stated that the preliminary laboratory reports appeared to be fine and that they would have a final laboratory report by the time she was to appear for a follow-up visit...July 7."
C.J. continued feeling lethargic. On June 29, she had to be taken home from class a by friend due to severe pain, and called the clinic. She went to the clinic later that day, per instructions, and was given 3 pelvic exams by Nurse Froebel, who detected an adnexal abdominal mass, and recommended that C.J. see her private physician or go to a hospital. C.J. returned to the clinic that had referred her to Planned Parenthood, where a physician assistant examined her, noted the mass, and diagnosed possible pelvic inflammatory disease and prescribed antibiotics.
C.J. stayed home the next day, "exhausted and without any energy." She attempted to attend class the following morning, but had to be taken to a faculty lounge to lie down due to pain. An ambulance was called, and emergency room personnel determined that she was hemorrhaging. C.J. required emergency surgery due to a ruptured fallopian tube. She was hospitalized one week, and recuperated at home 10-14 days.
The laboratory report had detected "scanty chorionic villi," indicating that the abortion had not removed the fetus. C.J. alleged negligence in failing to perform other tests and procedures to determine cause of her symptoms.
Thirty-two-year-old Kelly Morse of Vermont traveled with her husband to Hillcrest Women's Medical Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for an abortion on June 19, 1996. Dr. Delhi Elmore Thweatt, Jr., performed the abortion.
Five days earlier, Kelly had come to Hillcrest and had been evaluated by Dr. Earl McLeod, who had diagnosed her as eight weeks pregnant.
Because the waiting room of the clinic was so crowded, Kelly's husband waited for her outside.
Even though Kelly had notified Hillcrest staff that she had asthma and was allergic to the "caine" medications, including Lidocaine, Thweatt administered 12 cc's of 1 percent Lidocaine to Kelly at about 11 a.m.
Kelly immediately had trouble breathing. A licensed practical nurse got Kelly's inhaler from her purse and helped her to use it, but Kelly reported that it was not helping. She became very agitated because of her difficulty in drawing breath.
Thweatt continued with the abortion, completing it in about four minutes, and spent some time providing ineffectual care to Kelly before having an ambulance summoned.
The suit filed by Kelly's husband noted, "As Mrs. Morse's dyspnea (difficulty breathing) and cyanosis [turning blue due to lack of oxygen] continued to worsen, Defendant Thweatt improperly administered Epinephrine subcutaneously instead of intravenously...." This measure would do nothing to assist a patient in Kelly's condition.
"No one started an IV. No respiration rate was recorded, no pulse was checked and no blood pressure was measured. No EKG was applied. No cardiac monitoring was conducted. No pulse oximeter was applied. No intubation or emergency tracheotomy was performed. No oxygen was administered. Kelly continued to agitate in fear, desperately gasping for air, and remained blue in color. Defendant Thweatt just stood there with a stethoscope in hand and listened to Kelly's breathing and wheezing progressively worsen."
"As Plaintiff choked and gasped for air, none of the Defendants, took steps to immediately dispatch an ambulance. In fact, the ambulance was not summoned until 11:24 a.m., or 10 minutes after Plaintiff violently choked, gasped, wheezed, and discolored to a blue-black appearance from respiratory arrest and hypoxia."
Paramedics arrived within five minutes of the call, just as a staff member was running outside to summon Kelly's husband.
Kelly's husband reported that he went in with the ambulance crew to find his wife, naked and blue-black from lack of oxygen, lying on a table that was halfway out of the examination room into the hallway.
The paramedics put a breathing tube into Kelly, properly administered medications, and performed CPR as they transported Kelly to nearby Polyclinic Medical Center, where she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.
Her condition continued to deteriorate, and she was pronounced dead on June 22.
Court documents in the case indicate that Hillcrest advertised Thweatt as being a Board-certified ob/gyn, yet "Defendant Thweatt failed the Ob/Gyn Board certification examination not once, not twice, but on three consecutive attempts...Defendant Thweatt failed his Board certification exam even after a fourth attempt, following his deposition of July 27, 1997."
On April 20, 1999, Thweatt and Hillcrest settled out of court with Kelly's husband. Her two children, a boy and a girl, were left motherless.
The Pennsylvania Medical Board and Maryland Medical Board show no disciplinary actions against Thweatt, who lives in Maryland.
Faizha D. alleged that she underwent an abortion at Associated Concern on June 22, 1974. She suffered an incomplete abortion, and damage to her cervix and vagina. She incurred medical expenses and lost wages.
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