A nurse there inserted laminaria to dilate Edrica's cervx, although Edrica had "odiferous creamy-colored discharge", indicative of a vaginal infection, at the time. Laminaria are sticks of seaweed that absorb moisture and expand, so they would wick any bacteria or viruses from the vagina into the uterus.
Edrica, who had not told her family about the abortion, did not return to the facility to have the laminaria removed and the abortion completed because her mental state had deteriorated overnight. She had became feverish, her mother said. She became mentally "confused and disoriented," not knowing what day it was, and started acting aggressively. She also began vomiting.
Planned Parenthood's patient profile for Edrica said that they mailed Edrica two letters telling her that she had to return and have the laminaria removed, but Edrica's mother said that the letters never arrived. She does indicate that Planned Parenthood called, but that Edrica was too sick to take the calls.
Edrica's family took her to Riverside County Regoinal Medical Center on February 4. A blood test there revealed the pregnancy to the physicians, but the hospital did not perform a pelvic exam because at the time Edrica was unable to consent to the examination due to confusion and inappropriate speech.
Edrica was treated in the medical ward for five days, then transferred to a psychiatric unit, which promptly sent her back to the medical unit to have them check her for possible sepsis. There, her condition continued to deteriorate. After Edrica's boyfriend told her family about the visit to Planned Parenthood, staff at the hospital performed a pelvic examination and discovered the laminaria, along with some gauze. Edrica miscarried that day, and died the next day, Valentine's Day.
The coroner's report attributes Edrica's death to toxic shock syndrome, prolonged retention of laminaria, and pregnancy. Which means that her death will likely be counted as a pregnancy death by health statisticians, but not as an abortion death because no abortion actually took place.
Edrica had been a student at Riverside Community College. Her mother said that she enjoyed traveling and reading. Her mother commented, "My daughter made a choice, but she didn't choose to die." She added, "A lost dog gets more attention than my daughter did. This has really torn at my family."
Edrica is the third known death among Planned Parenthood patients in California in the last four years. Holly Patterson, 18, died of an infection after an RU-486 abortion in 2003. Diana Lopez, 25, bled to death in 2002 after her cervix was punctured during the procedure. Edrica's mother's lawyer indicates that Planned Parenthood did not report any of these deaths to the state, as required by law.
State records indicate that the clinic inquestion was last inspected in July of 2003. The inspection found 12 deficiencies, most involving recordkeeping and documentation problems that were to be corrected by Sept. 20, 2003. The file doesn't show if the corrections were made or not.
HT: Operation Rescue West