Christi Stile was only 17 when she came home from roller skating with a friend. She looked shaken and distressed, but when her parents asked her what was wrong, she said that she had just had harsh words with somebody and didn't want to talk about it. Kay and Fred Stile gave the incident no more thought for a long, long time.
Four months later, Christi came to her mother and said that she was pregnant. She was crying, saying that she just couldn't have this baby; it would kill her. In retrospect, Kay said that this is what one should expect from a 17-year-old girl. But at the time, although Fred and Kay disapproved of abortion, Kay agreed to drive Christi to her abortion appointment at Aurora's Mayfair Women's Center.
To make a sad situation even sadder, the abortion was scheduled for just one day after Christi's 18th birthday. So on July 1, 1993, the two drove to Myafair. Even though they'd been referred to Mayfair by a Planned Parenthood, Kay and Christi were nervous. Was abortion really safe? Kay went with Christi for the informed consent session and asked about safety. She was reassured that the only risk was of heavy bleeding, and that the clinic had everything on hand to deal with that situation should it arise. Kay felt reassured.
Kay stayed in the waiting area as Christi went back for her abortion. Suddenly, the demeanor of the staff changed. There was something wrong, Kay was sure. She was also sure that Christi was the patient who was in some sort of trouble. Kay questioned a staffer, who told her that Christi had experienced a minor complication and that she was being taken to the hospital for observation. Purely routine -- she would be discharged tomorrow. There was no cause for alarm, Kay was assured. Christi was fine; they were just being cautious.
Kay rushed to the hospital in a near panic. When she was arrived, staff told her that she couldn't see Christi until she calmed herself. Steeling her nerve, Kay steadied herself and was led to a patient's bedside.
The girl in the bed was unconscious, stuck full of tubes. Her face was swollen and distorted.
"That's not my daughter," Kay told them. But a nurse handed her a plastic bag containing Christi's jewelry. The girl in the bed was Christi.
Kay had to do the hardest thing she'd ever done in her life: call her husband and tell him he didn't have his daughter any more. She was alive, but she was no longer the same Christi.
Fred and Kay later learned what had happened at Mayfair. Abortionist Ronald Kuseski, not an anesthesiologist, had administered sedatives to Christi through her IV. After the abortion, he looked up to find Christi pale, with bluish lips, and no pulse or respiration. Her heart had stopped. Paramedics were summoned, who managed to restore Christi's pulse and respiration before rushing her to the hospital.
The clinic had no record of Christi's vital signs being recorded during the abortion. Although Kuseski's attorney insisted that the clinic had a "crash cart" to deal with cardiorespiratory arrest, Kay says that Kuseski had told her that the clinic had no "crash cart." The medical board investigation found that Kuseski didn't have pulse oximetery equipment in place for Christi's abortion. Kuseski denied any misconduct during Christi's abortion. The Medical Board sent him a "Letter of Admonition" telling him to adhere to "Anesthesia Monitoring Guidelines" in the future, and to attend CPR and Advanced Cardiac Life Support training.
Perhaps out of concern that Fred and Kay might blame Christi's boyfriend for what had happened to her, Christi's friend told them what had really happened the night she and Christi had gone skating. Christi had been so upset not because she'd had a tiff with a friend, but because an acquaintance had raped her behind the rink.
Standing at Christi's bedside during the filming of Christi's Choice, a documentary video about the family's ordeal, Fred Stile commented that had Christi had her baby instead of having the abortion, he'd be changing diapers on his grandchild instead of on his incapacitated daughter. The baby, of course, would have long since been out of diapers by the time the video was released. And by now, Christi would be a young mother attending school conferences. Having the baby wouldn't have ended Christi's life. Having the abortion effectively did.
As of the release of Christi's Choice, the Stile family had amassed over $250,000 in medical bills. Christi remains in a vegetative state, cared for by her parents. She is not expected to recover.