On February 24, 1993, 23-year-old Venus Ortiz sought a safe, legal abortion at National Abortion Federation member Eastern Women's Center.
Evidence indicated that the abortion of Venus' approximately 15-week pregnancy was performed by a Dr. Leiber. Venus' family later alleged that there was negligence in administering anesthesia to her, and failure to establish an airway. Brevital, fentanyl, and midazolam were administered in dosages and manners contrary to standards of practice, causing Venus to suffer a synergistic reaction.
Eastern's staff failed to promptly diagnose and attend to cardio-pulmonary arrest. Eastern's notes of 5:35 PM indicate "2:35 PM end of surgery ... we noticed patient's ashen color and the pulse oximeter tracing and digital readout were gone from the monitor." Emergency medical services were called. The reading of Venus' blood pressure at that time was 90/55; four minutes later it was recorded as being 146/62.
Venus was transported by ambulance to a hospital, accompanied by Dr. Cyrus, Dr. Goodman, and/or Dr. Jeffrey P. Moskowitz. However, the damage had already been done. Venus was left in permanent need of respirator, with profound brain damage. Venus remains in a coma/vegetative state. She was hospitalized a little over five months before being transferred to permanent nursing home care.
To further underscore Eastern's neglect of patients' needs, the suit also noted that although this was her 4th abortion, Venus had not been referred to a social worker.
Venus remained in a permanent vegetative state for the remainder of her life. She died in New York on December 16, 1998 at the age of 29.
Two other patients, Dawn Ravenelle and Dawn Mack, also died of complications of abortions done at Eastern Women's Center.
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