Monday, August 29, 2005

Tragic safe-n-legal anniversary: Diane Watson

Diane Watson was 27 years old when she went to Hedd Surgi-Center in Chicago for an abortion on August 29, 1987. Although Diane was over 12 weeks pregnant, Rudolph Moragne proceeded with the abortion, in violation of state regulations.

Diane had seizures and went into cardiac arrest at the clinic. Moragne and the other physicians present -- Henry Pimentel, Ester Pimentel, and Calvin Williams -- failed to perform CPR.

Diane's autopsy report attributed her death to "seizures due to anesthesia during an abortion," and made note of the recent pregnancy. Diane's death certificate, however, not only makes no mention of the abortion, but has the "no" box checked for whether or not the decedent had been pregnant during the previous three months. Therefore, Diane's death would not have been noticed as an abortion death by the National Center for Health Statistics -- the agency the CDC depends upon to notify them of abortion deaths.

Diane wasn't the only woman to die after an abortion by Moragne at Hedd. Magnolia Thomas had died in 1986.

And exactly how much did the powers-that-be do to correct this? At Hedd Surgi-Center, inspectors found poor sanitation and infection control, unlicensed and unqualified staff, out of date medications, mold on the breathing tubes, and mouse droppings in the operating room. A revocation agreement barred Hedd from performing any procedures but abortions. In other words, Hedd wasn't good enough to provide legitimate medical care, but it was good enough to do abortions. (Chicago Tribune 2-8-91) A search of the Illinois database shows that Moragne was never disciplined, but allowed his license to expire in 2002.

Henry and Esther Pimentel both still have active medical licenses in Illinois, but unlike Moragne, they've been disciplined by the medical board. Henry Pimentel's license was suspended from April of 1991 to March of 1994 for the following reasons:
Performed several operations in which he signed another doctor's name to the Public Aid forms because, at that time, he was not eligible to participate in the Medical Assistance Program. In addition, for approximately seven Years, he prescribed controlled substances on a non-renewed license. On May 11, 1990, he pleaded guilty to vendor fraud in Cook County.

Esther Pimentel was put on professional probation from March 1994 to March 1996 due to "Alleged fraudulent billing and lack of quality of care rendered."

Calvin Williams was disciplined numerous times. His license was suspended from May of 1990 to June of 1993 for "Alleged gross negligence dishonorable, unethical and unprofessional conduct abandonment of a patient. Incompetence to practice medicine." He was placed under probation from September of 1993 to September of 1995 due to "Alleged gross negligence dishonorable, unethical and unprofessional conduct abandonment of a patient. Incompetence to practice medicine." He was placed on professional probation again November of 1997 to November of 1999 for "Violating the terms and conditions of a previously ordered Department probation." His license was suspended in December of 1999 for "Failing to comply with the terms and conditions of a previously ordered probation." He has not had his license reinstated since then.

Apparently Hedd had pretty low standards for the physicians they hired. And we're supposed to believe that somehow places like Hedd are safe for women.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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