Linda Boom, age 35, went to Sinai Samaritan Medical Center in Milwaukee for a safe, legal abortion on September 21, 1995.
Linda and her husband, Dennis Boom, had married in 1993 and planned to start a family. Linda learned that she was pregnant in June of 1995, but in September elected abortion because the fetus had been diagnosed with Down syndrome. Linda's aunt had Down syndrome, which Linda believed meant "no life."
Fourth-year resident Karen S. Watson administered an amnioinfusion -- injecting chemicals into Linda's uterus. Linda reported pain and said she was "burning up all over." This is consistent with what a woman might experience during a botched saline abortion.
Watson's supervising physician, Daniel Gilman, injected more chemicals into Linda's uterus. Dennis Boom's attorney, Patrick Dunphy, said that the two injections caused the heart damage that killed Linda 36 hours after the first injection.
Watson did not use ultrasound to guide the needle injecting the poison, and apparently she injected the chemicals directly into Linda's bloodstream instead of into the amniotic sac.
The defense, of course, says that there was no negligence. Also, the hospital says that Gilman is responsible for Linda's death, because he performed the second injection and was supervising Watson. Gilman can't be named in the suit because the statute of limitations expired before Linda's husband filed.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Gilman "had performed more than 100 abortions." Watson has started an ob/gyn practice in Milwaukee.
News coverage of the case does not indicate why Watson and Gilman chose the antiquated instillation technique for Linda's abortion. Since the late 1960s, nations such as Sweden, Japan, and the Soviet Union had abandoned instillation abortions as being far too dangerous for the mother. US abortionists finally began abandoning the technique in the mid-1980s -- for logistical reasons, not to protect women's lives. Saline took too long, was typically performed in a hospital, and carried the risk of a live birth.
For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:
To email this post to a friend, use the icon below.