Friday, November 25, 2011

2003: Alabama Woman Sent Home to Bleed to Death

Leigh Ann Stephens Alford, age 34, underwent a safe and legal abortion at the hands of Dr. Malachy DeHenre (pictured) at Summit Medical Center of Alabama, a National Abortion Federation member clinic, on November 25, 2003.

Leigh Ann was discharged from the clinic only 20 minutes after her abortion, according to a lawsuit filed by her husband. Within six hours, he said, he called the facility to report that Leigh Ann was suffering pain and fever. She died about 18 hours after the clinic had sent her home. Death was attributed to hemorrhagic shock from an unrecognized uterine perforation.

DeHenre's medical license was suspended in Mississippi and Alabama after the death. DeHenre, age 53, also performed abortions at New Woman Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, as well as his own Jackson's Women's Health Organization.

Alabama suspended DeHenre's license as of July 28. The Mississippi suspension was expedited, rather than addressed in a board meeting scheduled for September 16. An Associated Press article quotes Dr. W. Joseph Burnett, executive director of the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure: "We couldn't wait another day to take action. He won't be practicing in Mississippi."

The Alabama medical board concluded that DeHenre's practice was conducted in such a way as to "endanger the health of patients," and found that he had committed "repeated malpractice."
DeHenry was also investigated after an abortion he performed on March 20, 2003. That patient began to hemorrhage and was transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she underwent a total hysterectomy.

DeHenre was a danger to women other than his abortion patients. In 2008, he was convicted in the 1997 shooting death of his wife, Dr. Nyasha DeHenre.

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