Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Contrasting Abortions, 1929 and 1985

A Mystery Abortion, Chicago, 1929

On June 21, 1929, 25-year-old maid Fannie Shead, a native of Huntsville, Alabama, died in Chicago from a criminal abortion performed that day by an unknown perpetrator. Interestingly, the coroner only recommended an arrest for "unintentional manslaughter," not the usual homicide by abortion. I wonder if this might be due to the fact that unlike the other victims of Chicago abortionists whose cases I've documented, Fannie Shead was Black. Oddly, the database lists a date a defendant was arrested -- August 10 -- but does not list a suspect.

Safe and Legal in New Jersey, 1985

Seventeen-year-old Deborah Lozinski had languished for two months in a coma, hospitalized after a safe and legal abortion at Medical Care Center in Woodbridge, New Jersey. On June 21, 1985, Deborah's parents filed suit against Dr. Scheininger, Dr. Binod Sinha, and other staff for failing to properly screen and examine Deborah prior to her abortion. Sinha was the anesthesiologist.
A review of Deborah's care found that a nurse-anesthetist failed to properly prepare Deborah by removing her make-up, nail polish, and jewelry so that changes in skin color could be noted. No monitoring devices were in place to track Deborah's vital signs.  As Deborah began to come out of anesthesia, the nurse detected signs that there might be a leak in or around Deborah's oxygen mask. While the nurse was looking for the leak, the doctor finished the abortion and left the procedure room. Sinha had not been present in the room at all, so this left Deborah without a physician on hand while she was still under anesthesia.
The nurse then left the head of the table, where she should have been monitoring Deborah's condition, to take her legs out of the stirrups and reposition her. It was when the nurse returned her attention to Deborah's care that she saw that Deborah was not breathing and had no detectable pulse. It was at that point that the nurse summoned Sinha.  Sinha hooked up a heart monitor and ordered CPR to be initiated. They were able to get Deborah's heart beating again, but her pupils would not respond to light. Emergency services were summoned.
A nurse from the John F. Kennedy Medical Center Mobile Intensive Care Unit arrived at the clinic, she was struck by the fact that Deborah's heavy makeup had not been removed before administering anesthesia, making it difficult to assess whether she was getting enough oxygen. As a result, Deborah suffered the brain damage that had caused her coma. During her hospitalization, she suffered repeated infections and developed pneumonia.
Shortly after midnight on June 22, a hospital staffer checked on Deborah and found her dead; she evidently had died shortly before midnight.

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