Like many abortion "clinics", Dr. Romeo Ferrer's private practice, Gynecare Center, would look to the untrained eye like an outpatient clinic. A patient making an appointment there would likely believe she was in a licensed clinic, not a doctor's office. (Their website, in fact, described the facility as "a modern, clean clinic designed to provide quality healthcare for women and girls of all ages in the Maryland area," even though, as the medical board noted, the facility was only a private doctor's office and not licensed as a clinic.)
Denise Crowe, was 21 years old, dropped her 3-year-old son off with a babysitter and drove to Ferrer's clinic-looking office for an abortion on February 3, 2006. She had $800 to pay for the procedure. She was 16 weeks pregnant.
"She thought she'd just have it done and nobody would know," her mother, Stephanie White, later told the Baltimore Sun.
Ferrer started the abortion, a D&E abortion, at about 1:00 p.m., using ultrasound to help him visualize the baby as he dismembered it. Twenty-five minutes later, Ferrer was still pulling fetal parts out of his patient, and administered 20 units of pitocin via an IV solution. Five minutes later, he added 125 mg of Demerol and 5 mg of midazolam (Versed, a short-acting sedative and amnesia-producing medication). Because "pt. was still reacting to pain", Ferrer administered additional doses of Demerol and midazolam. It wasn't until 1:45 that Ferrer completed the abortion.
Denise was moved to the recovery room, where at 1:47 a "surgical assistant" noticed signs of cyanosis (blue coloring) in Denise's fingernails. A nurse assistant was unable to get a blood pressure or pulse reading on Denise, and told Ferrer. He gave a verbal order for 0.4 mg Narcan, which was administered by the nurse assistant. Narcan is a drug to counteract narcotics.
The medics arrived to find Denise still unresponsive and without a pulse. The medics used an oxygen mask and additional drugs as they transported Denise to Anne Arundel Medical Center. There, emergency room staff continued the attempts to resuscitate her, to no avail. She was pronounced dead at 2:57 p.m.
The autopsy found no underlying physical reason for Denise's heart to have stopped. The cause of death was given as "Meperidine intoxication" (an overdose of Demerol).
The National Abortion Federation defended Ferrer, with spokeswoman Melissa Fowler telling the Annapolis Capital that abortion is safe due to "specialized quality care provided by clinics like Gynecare Center." This indicates that Gynecare was a National Abortion Federation member.
A Doctor and a Midwife in Chicago
On February 3, 1912, 37-year-old homemaker Helen Imhoff died on the scene from blood poisoning caused by an abortion perpetrated by Dr. W. A. Beringer and midwife Margaret Meyer. They were indicted by a Grand Jury on March 1, but the case never went to trial.
A Tragic Surprise
George Strugnall, a roofer and father of eight, told police the story of how his 16-year-old daughter Mary lost her life:
[Twenty-two-year-old Vernon] Keyser met my daughter a year ago. She was only 15 then and just out of grammar school, so my wife and I did all we could to discourage his attentions. He worked in his father's machine shop a few doors from our house and used to stop and see Mary every night. Sometimes he took her out.
A week ago my youngest boy, Raymond, 9 years old, was run over by a truck and his leg broken. Last Tuesday [January 29] my wife and I went to the People's hospital to see him, leaving Mary alone. When we returned, Mary was gone.Keyser, the baby's father, told police:
About three months ago Mary said she was in trouble and asked me to help her. I didn't know what to do until a few weeks ago. I met Dr. [J. A.] Harter, who said he would take care of the case for $150 if I brought Mary to his office.
On Tuesday, when her parents were away, I took Mary to Dr. Harter's home. She was frightened ad began to struggle, but the doctor's brother [Irving Harter] and I held her on a table while the operation was performed. Five hours later I took her to the home of a Mrs. Irma McMullen, 7037 Clarmont avenue.Mary's condition deteriorated, so to avert any suspicion he continued to stop at the Strugnell home daily asking after Mary.
On Friday, February 1, Harter told Keyser that he couldn't do anything more for Mary and suggested that he consult with Dr. J. A. Goodhart of South Kedqie Avenue. Goodhart immediately ordered that Mary be admitted to the county hospital.
Per Harter's instructions as to "the simplest way out of it," Keyser persuaded Mary to lie and say that she had done the abortion herself. She died on February 3.
Dr. Harter was originally sought both at his office on West 63rd Street and his home on West Marquette Road, without success. Eventually he was captured and tried for homicide, but acquitted. His brother Irvine was charged as an accessory. Keyner was charged with rape and accessory to murder.