Saturday, December 13, 2008

1996: NAF member's preferred treatment fatal for young mom

To put today's abortion death anniversary into perspective, a little background would be helpful.

In one session of a National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar, a participant indicated that when he pulled bowel (extracted part of a patient's bowel through a perforation in her uterus), his preferred method of treatment (if you can call it that) was to stuff the bowel back through the perforation, administer medications to make the uterus contract and control bleeding, monitor the woman more carefully in recovery, and if she seemed okay, send her home none the wiser.

The moderator was appalled. He pointed out that even if there was no obvious injury to the bowel, it might be bruised and damaged. The recommended procedure is to admit the patient to the hospital and examine her bowel, and observe her for signs of further injury. The moderator then asked how many of the other participants followed this method of stuffing the bowel back in and hoping for the best. Six participants raised their hands to be counted.



I knew it was only a matter of time before one of these bowel-stuffing abortionists killed somebody. That's where the unwitting Sharon Hamptlon stepped into the picture. Accompanied by her mother, Doris, and her three-year-old son, Curtis, she went to Bruce Steir (rhymes with fear) at A Lady's Choice Women's Medical Center for a safe, legal abortion on December 13, 1996. She was 20 weeks pregnant.

Steir remained at the facility for about an hour after Sharon's abortion. She was still in the recovery room when he left.

Excerpts from Doris's statement to the medical board can be found at ...And So I Could Hold You and You Could Go to Sleep. Here are some passages:

Maybe around 3:00 pm I took Curtis inside to use the bathroom. I saw a grey haired man dressed in green surgical clothes sitting at a desk. He said, "You know she is far along." I said, "No. I didn't know because she didn't tell me." Then I saw Sharon in the recovery room about 3:30 or 4:00 pm. She looked so bad that I felt scared. She was laying on a lazyboy style chair with an IV in her left arm and a blood pressure cuff on the other. She looked very pale. Her eyes were partially open and I could see only the whites of her eyes as if she were in shock. She was not speaking and her whole body was shaking real hard in big shivers. Her legs were especially bad. The doctor said, "She doesn't react to drugs well." .... A woman came in and said that Sharon didn't need the blankets that were on her already and pulled the blankets off. Other girls in the recovery room were vomiting and the attendant woman told the girls to keep vomiting, that vomiting was good for them at this time. I went back to the waiting room and a Spanish lady came out and said that Sharon would be ready in a few minutes as soon as the IV finished.

Sharon was in the recovery for only about 45 minutes, because at 5:00 pm they came out and said she was ready to leave. I heard someone say that the doctor was real busy and he had to rush out like he was going to the airport, something about him having to go to Sacramento or San Francisco. I saw two women struggling to place Sharon in a wheelchair. Sharon could not walk at all and she was not speaking. She looked very, very pale now.


This is reminiscent of the way Arnold Bickham told Sylvia Moore she was "lazy" when she was too weak from hemorrhage to walk. He, like Steir's staff did with Sharon, put the dying patient in a wheelchair and shoved her out the door. Other dying women pushed out of abortion facilities in wheelchairs because they were too weak to walk include Gracealynn Harris and Glenda Davis.

Doris, however, trusted the clinic staff and believed that if they discharged her daughter, then she must be well enough to safely leave.

On the way home to Barstow, I stopped at Wendy's to get a sandwich for little Curtis. I tried to wake Sharon but all she said was "Huh, Huh." Then Curtis said, "Mamma, I love you. Do you need anything? Are you okay?" And Sharon said, "Okay. I'll take a drink." Sharon was lying in the backseat of the car and said to Curtis, "Come on back with me Curtis. I love you and so I could hold you and you could go to sleep." She was silent for about one hour. Near Victorville, she said, "I'm so hot. Please let the window down." I opened the window a bit. After that, Sharon was silent forever.

We got home to Barstow and I saw that Sharon, still laying in the back seat was naked from the waist up, having removed her shirt, shoes and socks. I started yelling, "Sharon. Sharon. Wake up," but she didn't and my husband, Ben Hamptlon, said, "Call 911."


According to Nancy Myles, an untrasound technician who was assisting Steir during Sharon's abortion, Steir was having trouble locating and extracting the fetal skull. She said that he looked at her strangely and said, "I think I pulled bowel."

Steir was already on probation with the medical board at the time of Sharon's abortion; he had a history of botching abortions, including causing uterine perforations. He'd been found negligent in six abortion cases, including three in which the woman had to undergo a hysterectomy. One woman had to have a fetal skull removed from a tear in her uterus. Steir surrendered his licence in 1997, in the wake of the fallout surrounding Sharon's death.

Pro-choice organizations, including the national leadership of NOW, and the National Abortion Federation and the California Abortion and Reproduction Rights League, rallied around Steir. One supporter stood outside the courthouse with a sign reading, "Abortion doctors are heroes, defend Dr. Bruce Steir." The Feminist Women's Health Center in Chico, with whom he once was affiliated, set up a "defense committee" and raised funds for his legal expenses.

Joseph Durante, who owned the facility, was also on probation with the medical board at the time of Sharon's fatal abortion. He had attempted a late abortion which resulted in the birth of a live but injured infant.

Sharon was a single mother who worked part-time at Burger King while attending community college. Sharon's mother said that she wanted to go off welfare and become a nurse. California taxpayers ffunded the fatal abortion through Medi-Cal.

Steir eventually plea bargained. He was sentenced to a year in prison, with six months of the sentence suspended in leiu of community service. He was also given five years' probation. At the sentencing hearing, four years after Sharon's death, Sharon's father said he still often pulled his car to the side of the road, looked at his daughter's picture, and wept.

Steir was released after serving only four months of his sentence.

Again, from Doris Hamplton's statement:

I don't know how she heard about Dr. Durante's offices. I think he was recommended by the people at San Bernardino County Social Services or by Dr. Krider. Sharon was on Medi-Cal and had Pacific Care as the Medi-Cal managed care agent. I understand that because Dr. Durante and Dr. Steir were on probation they were not entitled to Medi-Cal payment, but they got it anyway. I understand that their office was not accredited as an ambulatory surgical office, and that it was supposed to be accredited to comply with the law. I had no idea that Dr. Durante and Dr. Steir were on probation with the Medical Board for incompetence and negligence against women patients. I am sure that Sharon did not know either. If I had known, I would never have taken Sharon to such a bad place with such bad doctors. I learned about their records in the newspaper articles.

....

I cry every day for the terrible loss of my daughter, and I am overwhelmed that 3 year old Curtis had his mother taken away forever. My husband, Ben Hamptlon, (father of Sharon), is sick with grief, has terrible head pain, is under the care of a doctor for this and has been taking strong pain medicine since Sharon's death. My prayer is that these doctors be stopped immediately so that no other girl will be killed and that no other family will have to suffer as we have.


For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, before you comment on this entry, read Christina's previous replies to you, then read this entry in it's entirety & tell me how this woman's death is justified.

Rachael C. said...

Sorry, that was me.
Rachael C.
http://rsnider.livejournal.com

Anonymous said...

273 women died from complications of pregnancy in the US in 1996.

And I bet quite a few of those 273 deaths were due to medical malpractice, which is never justified but nonetheless happens because every profession has a few bad apples. Perhaps Christina should start naming and shaming all these shoddy OB/GYNs responsible for 273 deaths in 1996 alone.

The truth is that pregnancy can be dangerous whether a woman chooses birth or abortion, but abortion is demonstrably safer than birth. Outlawing abortion would cause MORE death, not less.

GrannyGrump said...

Cripes, you just DON'T pay attention, do you? When is the last time a new piece of information about anything penetrated? I've pointed out:

1. Abortion (and childbirth) mortality were being very effectively addressed by a lot of means that did not require legalizing abortions. Legalizing abortion did not have any impact on the mortality trends. Recriminalizing it likewise would probably not have any impact on mortality trends -- though it would give the illusion of more deaths because they would be crimes, not civil cases, and we are always more careful to count crimes.

2. We don't know how many women die from legal abortions because nobody is trying to get an accurate count.

If you don't start actually taking in new information and responding to it, I'm going to start just nuking your repetitive posts out of hand. I do not have the time or energy to sit there and deal with you popping in again and again and saying the same things that you're clearly taking straight from abortion advocacy "talking points" that you were spoon fed.

Go out and get your own flipping information and stop just parroting what NAF and NARAL and Planned Parenthood feed you. I've been doing my own goddam research for over twenty years. When YOU have done maybe ONE WEEK of independent research, coupled with a bit of original thought, maybe we can talk. But I get sick to death of people who pick up one thought at some point and just keep parroting it as if it's the final clinching argument.

Kathy said...

Anonymous,

You bet your sweet bippie that a lot of childbirth and pregnancy deaths are due to slipshod healthcare. But what does that have to do with abortion? There are plenty of people who are worried about non-abortion related maternal mortality -- you can check out Ina May Gaskin who has a quilt with a square devoted to every woman she knows of who is counted as a maternal mortality statistic.

Here is one panel of 20 women who died in 2007:
Valerie Scythes and Melissa Farah and Caroline Wiren and Virginia Njoroge : google each name and you'll get their photos as well as their stories.

Jennifer Bowers, postpartum psychosis (probably a suicide)

Galit Schiller - google.

Randi Madnick - Amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) caused by induction

Patty White - AFE/induction

Aria Mae Ruggles - AFE, c-section for twins

Becky Zalewski - stroke

Jaime Sweetman - c-section

Cydni Edwards - necrotizing fasciitis

Brandette Gaines - congenital cardiomyopathy

Ama Thomas - missed abortion, major hemorrhage

Carlene Mossman - AFE

Heather Egan-Hayes - postpartum hemorrhage, placenta removal complication

Vanessa Cody - DIC

Kimberlee Priest - gangrene

Diana McCabe - internal bleeding after c-section

Nalini Tannir - aneursym

Debra Smith - triplets, cardiomyopathy?


So how does attack OBs who attend births help make abortion less deadly for the women who choose it? And even if no woman died from abortion, it is still 100% deadly for the babies on whom it is performed.

Outlawing abortion would cause less death, because fewer babies would die.

GrannyGrump said...

Kathy, the one thing that would do the most to reduce childbirth and pregnancy deaths even further (given the current state of health and health care) would be to provide a thorough prenatal screening to every woman diagnosed pregnant, regardless of whether she's made up her mind to abort or have the baby. If she decides to continue the pregnancy, she'll have already had a screening, gotten her vitamins, and be connected with health care providers. If she ends up deciding to abort -- or if she's even made up her mind in advance that she'd rather abort no matter what -- she's still had a thorough health screening to check for ectopic pregnancy, bicornuate uterus, and other issues or risk factors, so that if she goes through with an abortion there is less likelihood of serious complications.

And reducing, rather than encouraging, abortion likewise will go a long way to reduce maternal mortality from childbirth, since many of the complications that threaten mothers' lives (placenta previa, placenta abrupto, preterm labor) are more common in women with prior abortions.

I find it appalling that the very people who keep citing childbirth risks are the very people promoting a practice that increases the risks of every future pregnancy that woman will ever have. It's like claiming that you can prevent oral cancer deaths by dipping more snuff.

SegaMon said...

Induced abortions also increase the risk of incompetent cervix, Christina.

Thank you so much for sharing with us this story about Sharon Hamptlon. I live in the Inland Empire, the same place where this fatal abortion took place. At least Bruce Steir can no longer legally practice medicine.

GrannyGrump said...

SegaMon, technically he wasn't practicing legally when he killed Sharon. He was on probation with the medical board and wasn't to be performing abortions without proper supervision. But I'm not sure if that's just a licensing violation or if it's a type of practicing medicine without a license (since he was practicing outside the scope of his license).

SoMG said...

GG, you wrote, again, that no one is trying to count deaths from legal abortion.

If you were to spend three minutes studying the question (ie google it) you would know that's not true. Counting, and understanding, deaths from legal abortion is a whole industry. Profs get tenure doing it.

You have a lot of work to do before you will get the right to criticize your commentors for not doing their homework. Beam in own eye, you know.

SoMG said...

SegaMom, the risk of incompetent cervix from childbirth is about eleven times greater than the risk from aboriton.

You can easily understand why. Stretching it open to a ten-centimeter diameter vs stretching it open to a one-centimeter diameter. Doioioioioi!

GrannyGrump said...

If you were to spend three minutes studying the question (ie google it) you would know that's not true. Counting, and understanding, deaths from legal abortion is a whole industry. Profs get tenure doing it.

I SPENT SIX MONTHS STUDYING NOTHING ELSE. IT WAS MY JOB.

I called every health department and vital records office in this country finding out how abortion morbidity and mortality are counted. And I HAVE TOLD YOU THIS DOZENS OF TIMES. Are you unable to retain this one piece of information? Do you really think I would substitute five minutes of "I Googled it" for six months of talking to the people who actually do morbidity and mortality reporting for a living? Six months of reading their reports and rules and regulations? Six months of analyzing death certificate database runs and comparing them to NCHS numbers? Six months of looking at the actual death certificates and autopsy reports and comparing them to what the CDC counted?

THE CDC -- the ultimate source for all base data on abortion deaths that these other people then "analyze"-- DIDN'T EVEN GODDAM COUNT LATACHIE VEAL, FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD! The only way her death could have been more obvious would have been if she'd crawled to Atlanta and expired on the floor of Lisa Koonin's office with her aftercare instructions still clutched in her hand. AND THEY STILL DIDN'T COUNT HER.

I can give you the NAMES of the people who were supposed to be counting these deaths. I can tell you their job titles. I spoke to them, got their reports, ordered special data runs. I SPENT SIX MONTHS ON THIS.

These people you claim run an industry of analyzing abortion deaths START WITH THE CDC'S NUMBERS. WHICH ARE BOGUS. Which I know are bogus because I SPENT SIX MONTHS FINDING OUT HOW THEY REALLY GET THEIR DATA.

Once you know how they gather the data, you know that the data are bullshit. And how you can be as intelligent as you seem to be yet totally unable to grasp GIGO -- Garbage In, Garbage Out....

If you have bad numbers, IT DOESN'T MAKE A GODDAM BIT OF DIFFERENCE HOW MUCH TIME YOU SPEND ANALYZING THEM. THEY ARE STILL BAD NUMBERS. YOU WILL GET MEANINGLESS RESULTS.

SoMG said...

Hon, you haven't told me ANYTHING "dozens" of times. I haven't been reading your blog long enough for that. I haven't even read ONE DOZEN of your posts!

Is there a complete description of your work on CDC and abortion online anywhere I can read it?

Two questions: HOW MANY cases of death from abortion that the CDC missed did you document in your six months of work? And, what is your basis for saying that CDC is more "slipshod" about abortion deaths than about other questions?

Finally, let me point out that there are other ways of measuring the relative risks of childbirth and early abortion besides national counts. You study samples.

GrannyGrump said...

First of all, SoMG, don't call me "Hon". I'm not dear to you or close to you or in any type of situation in which that would be appropriate.

And I HAVE told you many things over at Jill's blog. You followed me here from there, I'm sure. And I've told you at least three times just here in the past few days. You're just tuning it out.

Is there a complete description of your work on CDC and abortion online anywhere I can read it?

I'm sure if you go back through the posts in Jill's blog you'll find lots of places were I described it. In a nutshell:

1. I contacted the CDC abortion surveillance people to find out where they get their information from.

2. I contacted the NCHS (the CDC's primary source) and found out how they get their information.

3. I contacted all the vital records offices in the 50 states, DC, New York City, and the Virgin Islands (to see if territories followed the same processes), speaking to the people whose job it is to process death certificates and forward death information to the NCHS.

4. I contacted all health departments to find out how (or if) they report abortion deaths to the CDC.

5. I ordered database runs of deaths with abortion ICD codes, going back to 1968, and got copies of the death certificates and autopsy reports.

6. I checked death certificates of verified abortion deaths that were not obtained through database runs. These deaths were verified by such means as court documents, medical board disciplinary documents, and health department inspections of abortion facilities.

7. I got data from the CDC on the only information they release about abortion deaths -- age range and race.

8. I cross checked all these things.

I'm trying to find a flowchart program so I can make it easy to see exactly how the data flows. In short, in order the have the CDC count the death:

*The doctor signing the death certificate must know of the abortion, AND must put the proper abortion related code in the proper box, AND the ICD coding guidelines must allow the death to be coded in such a way that the abortion code will be the one that is flagged as the cause of death. If any one of these doesn't fall into line, the death isn't visible as an abortion death by any statistical collection agency.

AND

*The death certificate must be in the sample sent by the state to the NCHS. Different states send different sample sizes, with large states like California sending the smallest percentage of their death data.

Some deaths can get noted if somebody takes it upon himself to bypass this system, but the report must make it past the CDC's abortion surveillance death analysis gatekeeper, who for years was Lisa Koonin, the woman who managed not to notice Latachie Veal's death. Koonin would, if a death was reported to her, get a copy of the death certificate and decide if it looked like an abortion death or not. If the death certificate didn't look like an abortion death to her, the report died on the vine. If she decided it did look like an abortion death, she'd forward it to a research fellow who would then get a copy of the autopsy and try to get medical records and so forth. But if Lisa Koonin looked at the death certificate and didn't think it looked like an abortion death (creative coding by the doctor can easily hide it), the report went no further.

That, in a nutshell, is what I did to find out how the CDC counts abortion deaths.

Now, what have YOU done to find out where the CDC gets their numbers from?

HOW MANY cases of death from abortion that the CDC missed did you document in your six months of work?

I know that there are at least 17, but I get that number by counting the number of deaths we had that were more than what the CDC counted. We can't know more than that because we can't verify if the CDC did or didn't count a particular death except in certain rare cases in which the CDC did a specific case study, or if there were no deaths counted of a particular woman's race and age range in that year (which is how we verified that they didn't count Latachie Veal's death -- they counted NO deaths of Black women in the 15-19 age range for 1991, and Latachie was a 17-year-old Black girl).

And, what is your basis for saying that CDC is more "slipshod" about abortion deaths than about other questions?

I didn't say that they were more slipshod in counting abortion deaths than they were about other questions. I just said that they are so slipshod in counting abortion deaths that we can not rely on their numbers to be accurate.

Finally, let me point out that there are other ways of measuring the relative risks of childbirth and early abortion besides national counts. You study samples.

Where would they get the samples from? ABORTION FACILITIES. Which have been caught charting dead patients as quite lively and healthy.

Again, what have you done -- or can you point to clearly that anybody else has done -- to find out where the CDC gets its information?

Kathy said...

SoMG -- birth is natural dilation; abortion uses artificial dilation, forcing an unripe cervix to open when it would naturally be "sealed shut" as it were. Would you might citing your source for your claim, first, and then noting whether or not the study looked at women who gave birth naturally as opposed to those who were induced? And whether or not the abortions were divided into groups based on whether they were early abortions which would have only dilated the cervix a little bit versus those that would have dilated the cervix quite a bit, in order to get out things like arms, legs, and the crushed skull?

SoMG said...

GrannyGrump, you wrote: "First of all, SoMG, don't call me "Hon". I'm not dear to you or close to you or in any type of situation in which that would be appropriate."

Sorry, Babe.

I don't remember a "GrannyGrump" from Jill's blog. And I haven't been there recently and cannot go there; she banned me because my arguments were too convincing. She allows prochoicers to comment but not smart, convincing ones--like FOX hiring Alan Colmes, a liberal who looks like a scarecrow and talks like a sophomore trying to show off his vocabulary. Liberals who might actually make convincing arguments convincingly are not wanted there. I can't even read Jill's blog--I get an error message if I try.

GrannyGrump said...

Take it from me, your arguments are only convincing to people who already agree with you. To everybody else it's like a Chatty Cathy doll that's been dropped and keeps on talking and talking and talking and won't stop until the battery runs dead. Only nothing short of death (which we don't wish on you -- we just wish you'd allow a new theme to enter your loop) will quiet you.

But your having been banned from Jill's blog certainly explains why you're haunting mine.

SoMG said...

Yeah, I'm hoping against hope that you'll turn out to be more serious about figuring stuff out and following your arguments where they lead than she is. Have to see.

Kathy, regarding cervical ripening: that's like the unclosed fontanelles, a mechanism for SOMEWHAT alleviating the essential problem of childbirth. It doesn't anywhere near make up for the tenfold extra dilation you need relative to abortion. (Saying "tenfold" is a little misleading because strain is not linear--going from eight centimeters to nine is many times worse than going from one centimeter to two.)

Kathy said...

SoMG, I'm still waiting for the evidence behind your claim. Surely you can cite a study for what you've said. Also (bringing in a bit of what you've said on my blog), in a partial-birth abortion, the cervix is very widely dilated, compared to what would be done in a dismemberment abortion -- the baby's entire body, specifically the girth of the torso, has to pass through the dilated cervix before her skull is stabbed, her brain is sucked out, and then her skull is crushed. You don't seem to find a problem with this, though, in defending partial-birth abortion as opposed to dismemberment abortions. Surely you understand that the body of a 27-week fetus is not one centimeter in circumference while the head is 10 cm.

You still have to enlighten me as to where you get your vast clinical knowledge and evidenced-based medicine on how it is better to unnaturally force an unripe cervix to open to allow the instruments in to dismember the baby (or get her out whole, if she is still small enough), than to allow the natural process of dilation to occur to birth a full-term baby.

You complained to me on my blog about not being specific enough; yet when I ask for this specific information, you respond not with evidence but with generalities. How am I supposed to take you seriously when you claim certain clinical knowledge that you cannot back up?

SoMG said...

You wrote:"the baby's entire body, specifically the girth of the torso, has to pass through the dilated cervix before her skull is stabbed, her brain is sucked out, and then her skull is crushed....Surely you understand that the body of a 27-week fetus is not one centimeter in circumference while the head is 10 cm. "

It's a question of squashiness. You can basically use a newborn's torso as a stress-relief toy--squeeze the ribs together and watch them pop back apart, poke it this way and that for hours, roll it out like a sausage--without hurting it any.

You wrote: "You still have to enlighten me as to where you get your vast clinical knowledge and evidenced-based medicine on how it is better to unnaturally force an unripe cervix to open to allow the instruments in to dismember the baby (or get her out whole, if she is still small enough), than to allow the natural process of dilation to occur to birth a full-term baby."

Med school.

Also, watching both procedures a few times makes it pretty obvious which one is more dangerous. Think: ten centimeters vs one centimeter. (Cervical ripening is a way of making this fundamental problem A LITTLE less difficult. It doesn't make the problem go away.)

Again, you have this obsession with "natural process". I repeat: "Natural" does not equal good for you. Being eaten by wolves is a natural process.

You wrote: "How am I supposed to take you seriously when you claim certain clinical knowledge that you cannot back up?"

You also claim certain clinical knowledge that you probably cannot back up. Try documenting/proving that broken legs are worse than broken toes.

Anonymous said...

I think that its ridiculous to think that private medical clinics would keep realistic data on the number of patients that die from their services - especially if they don't return and end up being taken to some A & E hospital in another location. Doesn't it make more sense to have government run clinics who don't have a stake in hiding their mistakes or that are open to public scrutiny.

I'm from th UK where there is Universal Healthcare and I will try to find abortion death figures here.

Lilliput

GrannyGrump said...

Anon, it's especially bad to get data from abortion clinics that get caught so often filling out the post-surgical report before the patient even goes in to surgery. That's how CRASH ended up with a dead patient charted as "pink, responsive, alert".

Anonymous said...

http://uk.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUKL1154753620071012

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2007/oct/08/health.lifeandhealth

This one is from parliment:

http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.com/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080220/text/80220w0024.htm

This is from another blog:
http://ukcommentators.blogspot.com/2008/06/abortion-deaths-pre-legalisation.html

But its just a 5 minute google search

Lilliput

SoMG said...

Anon, the clinics keep and report the records in obedience to the law.

GG, do you have any evidence that filling out surgical reports before the surgery is more common in abortion than in other specialties?

Didn't think so.

GrannyGrump said...

SoMG, I didn't say it was more common than for other surgeries. I said it happened often enough to give us reason NOT to get mortality (or, I might add, complication) data from abortion facilities.

And let me clarify something. I'm not trying to convince you that you should become a prolifer and oppose abortion. I'm trying to convince you to get behind gathering accurate data, holding abortion facilities and lobbying organizations accountable, and so forth. NONE OF WHICH YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH IF YOU "CONVERT".