On July 29, 1941, 34-year-old Agnes Pearson of White Plains, New York died at Grasslands Hospital in New York of peritonitis caused by complications from an abortion. Agnes left two children motherless. Dr. Nathan Schwartz, age 55, and Dr. Samuel Schwartz (not related), age 68, were charged with manslaughter in Agnes' death. The Grand Jury heard evidence from Agnes' husband, four hospital doctors, three nurses, state police, and a laboratory worker. The charges were dismissed in 1946 for reasons I have been unable to determine.
On July 29, 1949 Dorothy Martin went to the home of P.D. Beigun
for an abortion. Beigun was not a physician or qualified to practice
medicine. Beigun took Dorothy into a bedroom while the man who had arranged the abortion, Virgil Echols, waited in the living room. About 15 or 20 minutes later, Echols heard a sound described as a
"slump," and Beigun called for him to come and help. Beigun went into
the other room and found Beigun supporting an unconscious Dorothy by the
waist. Dorothy made a gurgling sound. Echols helped Beigun lay Dorothy on the bed. Echols tried to revive Dorothy, and asked Beigun what happened. Beigun indicated that he'd packed Dorothy's uterus with gauze. The men summoned police and an ambulance. While they waited, Beigun
instructed Echols to say that Dorothy had fainted. When the police arrived, Dorothy was dead. The next day the toxicologist and a physician performed an autopsy. They
found that Dorothy's cervix had been dialated, discolored, and abraded,
and that her injury must have been very painful. They believed that
gauze had been forced into Dorothy's uterus, even though no gauze was
present at autopsy, because her injuries were consistent with this
scenario. They also concluded that Dorothy had gone into shock and died
within a few minutes of her injury. Dorothy had been in good health,
with no abnormalities of her heart, lungs, or kidneys and no history of
fainting. The fetus appeared to be about three to four months of gestation. In trial, it came out that Echols had previously brought his own wife
to Beigun for an abortion, which had nearly killed her.
Twenty-six-year-old Yvette Poteat had an abortion performed by Dr.
Marion D. Dorn Jr. at The Ladies Clinic in Charleston, South Carolina on
July 16, 1985. On July 27, Yvette experienced "sudden, sharp, constant lower abdominal pains," and was taken to a hospital by her fiancee. Yvette was admitted to the emergency room, where she informed the
doctors about the abortion. She was mistakenly diagnosed as having
pelvic inflammatory disease, was given medication, and was discharged
after several hours with instructions to seek follow-up care in two
days. Throughout July 28, Yvette experienced continued pain. She called the
hospital but "was instructed not to return but to give the medication a
chance to work." Early in the morning of July 29, Yvette collapsed at home. She was taken
by ambulance to the hospital. She went into cardiac arrest due to a
ruptured ectopic pregnancy that both Dorn and the hospital staff had
failed to diagnose, and was pronounced dead 6:15 a.m. A suit Yvette's family filed against Dorn, the clinic, the hospital, and hospital doctors won a small $23,000 plaintiff verdict in 1987.