Monday, January 27, 2020

New Clippings on Belinda Byrd: Even Sadder Than It Already Was

I found more clippings on the death of Belinda Byrd, and they just magnify the sad. Updated areas are highlighted. Some sections have been moved around to incorporate the new information.

News clipping headshot of a smiling young Black woman
Belinda Byrd
Belinda Ann Byrd was a tiny woman, weighing only 95 pounds even when she was 19 weeks into her pregnancy. The mother of three children, all of whom had been delivered by c-section, was afraid to go ahead and have her baby because a doctor had told her that another birth could prove fatal. 

On January 23, 1987, 37-year-old  Belinda reported to  Inglewood Women's Hospital in Los Angeles, California for medications prior to an abortion scheduled the following day. She reported to Inglewood on the 24th for what she expected to be a live-preserving safe and legal abortion performed by Stephen Pine. She was the 69th of 74 women that Pine rushed through Inglewood's single procedure room. Fully 24 of those abortions were performed in the final two hours of the day at the 28-bed hospital.

Pine finished Belinda's abortion in roughly nine minutes, ending at about 4:00 p.m. She was only kept in the recovery room for about seven minutes before she was taken to the hospital's west wing. Belinda complained that she was weak and her legs were numb ab about 5:00 pm. She collapsed in the bathroom a short time later and had to be helped back to her bed.

At some point staff took Belinda's vital signs and noted bloody discharge from her vagina.

At around 7:00 p.m. Belinda again reported that she felt weak and her legs were numb. About ten minutes later a nurse tried to take Belinda's vital signs but could find no pulse. Pine had already left the hospital an hour earlier.

Staff at Inglewood attempted resuscitation themselves, leading to a delay of an additional two hours before transferring her to Centinela Medical Center, a hospital with appropriate emergency services. As a licensed general acute care hospital, Inglewood should have been equipped to treat Belinda's complications.

Belinda arrived at Centinela apparently brain-dead atop bloody sheets. She remained comatose until she was taken off life support on January 27. Her autopsy report noted that she had died due to a punctured uterus. She also had a blood clot in her lung.

Belinda's mother wrote to a Los Angeles district attorney:

  • I am the mother of Belinda Byrd, victim of abortionists at [Inglewood]. I am also the grandmother of her three young children who are left behind and motherless. I cry every day when I think how horrible her death was. She was slashed by them and then she bled to death ... and nobody cares. I know that other young black women are now dead after abortion at that address. ... Where is [the abortionist] now? Has he been stopped? Has anything happened to him because of what he did to my Belinda? Has he served jail time for any of these cruel deaths? People tell me nothing has happened, that nothing ever happens to white abortionists who leave young black women dead. I'm hurting real bad and want some justice for Belinda and all other women who go like sheep to slaughter.

A defense attorney claimed that Belinda hadn't bled to death but had instead died due to a rare condition causing a blood clot to form in her lungs several hours after surgery. "Had three doctors been standing there at the time, the chances of that woman surviving were practically nil. This case doesn't belong in a courtroom. It belongs in a textbook." 

Inglewood officials pooh-poohed the idea that Pine was rushing through abortions too quickly to perform them safely, asserting that it wasn't unusual for one of their doctors to do 100 abortions in a single day. They asserted that this rapid-fire assembly-line approach was safe even though they specialized in more difficult and time-consuming second trimester abortions.

Pine settled out-of-court with Belinda's mother, longtime boyfriend, two siblings, and three children for $250,000 prior to a civil jury deciding that although Pine, Barke, and Inglewood had all been negligent in the care they provided to Belinda, they were could not that the negligence had acually caused her death. Thus the case ended in a mistrial. The children were ages 19, 16, and 14 at the time of the settlement in 1990, which would have made them approximately 16, 13, and 11 at the time of their mother's death.

In the wake of the series of abortion deaths at Inglewood, the authorities inspected the place. Among other things, they caught an abortionist writing post-operative examination notes without even examining the patients. This confirmed what a nurse's aide told investigators after Belinda's death; she told officials that Pine rarely examined patients after their abortions and signed discharge forms before the patients had even left the recovery room. This aide later quit without giving notice, explaining "It was just a slaughterhouse, and I couldn't take it any more." 

Health official Ralph Lopez told the Los Angeles Times that Inglewood had a long history of "battlefield conditions" and a case load of about 1,000 abortions a month in its single operating room. Inglewood processed 11,330 abortion patients in 1986 alone. Patients were rushed through surgery with the table and floors stained with the blood of previous patients. Doctors didn't wash their hands or their equipment between patients. Patients "were encouraged to leave the facility before they felt comfortable doing so," and patients were discharged without being assessed by a physician.

The inspection led to a 29-page report citing 33 violations.

Inglewood was threatened with suspension of Medicare and Medi-Cal funding for problems, including "dumping" an injured abortion patient -- just transferring her to County-USC Medical Center in unstable condition and without alerting the hospital to expect her. 

The state revoked Inglewood's hospital license. Less than two weeks later it reopened as West Coast Women's Medical Group, operating under the name Inglewood Women's Clinic, an outpatient abortion facility. It was later purchased by Edward "Fast Eddie" Allred to add to his Family Planning Associates Medical Group chain of abortion facilities.

Inglewood Women's Hospital was owned by Inglewood General Hospital Corp. Inc., which was headed by abortionist Morton Barke.

Other women known to have died after abortions at the Inglewood facility include Kathy Murphy (1973), Lynette Wallace (1975), Elizabeth Tsuji (1978) and Cora Lewis (1983).










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