Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Safe, Legal Quackery & Death, and Three Illegal Abortion Deaths

On June 9, 1999, Maria Leho was in the first trimester of pregnancy, when she entrusted herself to the staff at Albany Medical Surgical Center of Chicago -- a member of the Family Planning Associates Medical Group chain of abortion facilities. She was to undergo an abortion at the hands of John Weitzner, MD
John Weitzner
Weitzner performed a suction abortion on Maria, while Lawrence Hill, CRNA, administered Brevitol for anesthesia. This drug is inappropriate for a patient who had seizure disorder, as Maria had indicated on her medical history. After the abortion, Hill transferred Maria to the recovery room without first verifying that her condition was stable. She was not assessed on arrival and not monitored when she was there. At some point a nurse noticed that Maria wasn't breathing. Staff attempted to resuscitate her with CPR, and ambu-bag, and a defibrillator. Nobody summoned Weitzner, who was performing an abortion on another patient. He came into the recovery room at about 12:50. Staff continued to try to revive Maria for another ten minutes before they finally got around to calling 911, rather than summoning EMS as soon as they realized that their patient was in a life-threatening emergency. Maria was taken to Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's hospital, where she died on June 11.

naflogo.jpgAlbany, through FPA, is a member of the National Abortion Federation. They had already had one patient, Deanna Bell, die from anesthesia complications. Then-owner Edward Campbell Allred admitted that he failed to perform any preventability study to keep any other patients from suffering Deanna's fate. Other women known to have died after abortion at Allred's facilities include Denise Holmes, Patricia Chacon, Mary Pena, Josefina Garcia, Lanice Dorsey, Joyce Ortenzio, Tami Suematsu, Susan Levy, Christina Mora, Ta Tanisha Wesson, Nakia Jorden, Kimberly Neil, Maria Rodriguez, Chanelle Bryant. NAF has allowed FPA to remain a member. Steve Lichtenberg, who oversees and performs abortions at the Chicago FPA facilities, continues to make presentations at their Risk Management Seminars although the Medical Director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America had scolded him at one NAF session for "playing Russian roulette with patients' lives" by treating life-threatening complications at his outpatient clinic rather than promptly transferring them to properly equipped hospitals. Yet they profess a loathing of risky abortion practices.

So much for trusting Big Abortion to look after women's safety.

Our next death offers yet another example. In June of 1979, National Abortion Federation member Atlanta Women's Pavillion rose to new levels of incompetence when staff there managed to fatally injure two teenage abortion patients in less than an hour.   It all began on June 2, when 19-year-old Angela Scott stopped breathing in the recovery room. An unregistered nurse-anesthetist was administering anesthesia to 14-year-old Delores J. Smith while Dr. Jacob Adams was performing her abortion. The nurse-anesthetist ran to assist in efforts to revive Angela, leaving Delores unattended with her anesthesia drip still running. After staff had resuscitated Angela and loaded her into an ambulance, they returned their attention to Delores, who had gone into cardio-respiratory arrest. Adams had accompanied Angela to the Grady Memorial Hospital, and staff refused to release Dolores to an ambulance until the physician had returned to discharge her. This resulted in a 30-minute delay, during which the ambulance crew was unable to attend to Delores or begin transporting her. Angela lingered for a week in a coma before dying on June 11. Delores never regained consciousness and eventually was admitted to a nursing home, where she died of adult respiratory distress syndrome on October 24, 1979, some time after her fifteenth birthday.

The next three deaths we commemorate today were from the "bad old days" when quackery abounded much more than it does today, or so we're told.

On June 11, 1917, 23-year-old homemaker Esther Stark died at Chicago's German Hospital from a criminal abortion perpetrated by Mrs. Groh, whose profession I've been unable to identify and who was never prosecuted because she died several days later from causes not indicated in the source. It's difficult to do a preventability study with such scant information.

Emma Post, "about twenty years of age, daughter of one of our most respectable citizens, was seduced by a young man living at Belleville." He called on her at the family home for about a year before learning that she was pregnant. He convinced her to leave Brooklyn with him. She told them she was going to visit somebody in Dover. Instead, "she was kept in two houses of ill repute in this city." From there she was taken to Boston, where she submitted to a surgical abortion. She was spirited off to Newburyport on Wendesday. On Thursday, June 11, 1857, she "paid the forfeit of such acts, dying in excruciating agony." Her baby's father, W. R. Rickerson, was arrested, as was Dr. Lewis Dix, believed to have perpetrated the abortion.

Caroline Clark, age 18, lived in Detroit with her mother and stepfather. From time to time she resided with the family of her stepfather's son-in-law, Alonzo Plumstead, in Northville. On Sunday, June 4, 1843, Caroline Clark told her mother that she was leaving aboard a steamboat for Toledo, accompanied by Mr. Plumstead. Instead of boarding the boat, however, Caroline and Plumstead went to the Farmington home of Mrs. Sophia Sperry, arriving as night was falling. He gave his name as Marlow, and, referring to Caroline as his wife, Sarah, Plumstead asked if she could stay there for a few days while he went to Livingston County. She was feeling too ill, he said, to continue the trip with him. Mrs. Sperry agreed, and Plumstead left. The next day Mrs. Sperry saw Dr. Wixom passing by, so she called him in to attend to the sick woman. Wixom examined Caroline, who was pregnant and appeared to be in premature labor. Caroline gave birth to a stillborn child on Wednesday. Wixom checked on her and she seemed to be adequately recovering. However, she took violently ill on Friday. On Saturday Plumstead came to the house, stayed with Caroline for several hours, and then left, instruction Mrs. Sperry to send for him in Northville if "Sarah" died. She died the very next day, June 11. A post-mortem examination was performed, and a coroner's jury concluded that "Caroline Amelia Clark came to her death by inflammation subsequent to abortion, which was produced ... by some person or persons... to this jury unknown." Plumstead's wife was brought to the coroner's jury and protested his innocence right up to the moment he confessed. Plumstead quickly made himself scarce before he could be arrested.

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