Monday, July 18, 2016

Four Equally Deadly Situations

A Legal Muddle in Chicago, 1911

On July 18, 1911, 24-year-old homemaker Ragna Beck died in Chicago from an abortion performed on May 9th by Mrs. C.M. Anderson. Anderson was held by the Coroner and arrested on July 19, but the case was stricken off during trial.

Self-Induced in Pittsburgh, 1918

On July 18, 1918, 18-year-old Margaret Smith, an unmarried clerk, died at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. The coroner determined that she had died of septicemia from a self-induced abortion.

A Doctor's Unclear Role, Georgia, 1918

Dr. C. A. Blanchard of Augusta, Georgia, was charged in July 18, 1918 abortion death of Berter Mae Parrish of Wrens, Georgia. Blanchard said that Berter Mae had already been in serious condition when she was brought to his practice. He said he waited a day before treating her for her obvious abortion complications because he didn't want to make any mistakes in treating her. It was the next day, he said, that he saw that an operation to finish the abortion was necessary to save her life.

Blanchard said that Berter Mae then was lost to follow-up, though he made many efforts to find her to provide ongoing care. He said that the first he'd known of her death was when police came to arrest him. I've been unable to determine any outcome of the case.

Dead Before Day's End, Atlanta, 1979

Geneva Colton, age 21, a mother of two employed as a Cochran, GA meter maid, underwent an abortion at Northside Family Planning Service in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 18, 1979. On the drive back home she was in pain, but she figured that this was just the cramping the clinic had told her to expect. At 8:30 that evening, Geneva was admitted to a hospital, with no vital signs detected. Doctors attempted to resuscitate her, to no avail. She was pronounced dead at 9:30 p.m., six hours after being discharged from the clinic. The autopsy found that Geneva's uterus had been perforated. She had bled to death.

Northside was eventually sued by their malpractice insurer because they'd allowed one of their abortionists to continue to perform surgery even though his manual dexterity had deteriorated due to multiple sclerosis. The suit by the insurer also alleged failure to meet state health standards, failure to have enough nurses on duty, failure to have proper on-call procedures, and lack of a professional director of medical services.

The clinic where Geneva's fatal abortion was performed seems to be the same clinic where Catherine Pierce underwent her fatal abortion in 1989.

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