Monday, October 10, 2005

Another day, three sad anniversaries

Today, October 10, we remember three tragic safe-n-legal deaths.

Twenty-three-year-old Maria Hernandez Ortega traveled from her home in Massahusetts for a legal abortion my Dr. Armida Zepeta in her New York office on October 10, 1970. Zeptea estimated the pregnancy to be two months. She attempted an abortion, but was unable to extract the fetus. She concluded that Maria had not been pregnant after all, and sent her home. At 10:00 that night, Maria died in her home. It turned out that she had actually been four months pregnant, not two months. Zepeta had pushed the fetus through the uterine wall into Maria's abdominal cavity. Maria wasn't the only woman who ended up having an abortion far later in the pregnancy than she intended, nor was the the only one to die because her abortionist miscalculated fetal age. Others include Eurice Agbaaga, Magdalena Rodriguez, and Janet Forster.

Eighteen-year-old Erna Fisher's mother held her hand as Dennis W. Miller performed an abortion on her on March 10, 1988. During the abortion, Erna suddenly sat up, went into convulsions, and began to vomit. Miller continued with the abortion while Erna choked to death on her own vomit. When an ambulance crew arrived, they found Erna's airway still full of vomit. Miller was making no attempt at resuscitation, but was holding Erna in his arms. Miller had already settled six malpractice cases in the Kansas City area. He had failed the Missouri state medical exam three times before finally giving up. It took nine tries for him to pass the exam to be licensed in Kansas. Miller is still practicing medicine in Kansas.

October 10, 1989, 27-year-old Catherine Pierce died in a nursing home in Tennessee from abortion complications that had left her comatose since March 11. She left an 11-year-old daughter motherless. The abortion was performed by Daniel McBrayer at Atlanta Surgi-Center, which had at one time also done business as "Northside Women's Clinic." Catherine went into cardiac arrest while left unattended in recovery. After Catherine was injured, state officials cited this National Abortion Federation facility for administering "the same anesthesia dosages" to patients whose weights ranges from 107 to 167 pounds, inadequate record keeping, and inadequate supervision of patients. Among the patient care problems cited, the investigators also said that they found discrepancies between the number of fetuses sent to the disposal lab and the number of abortions performed. In 1989 Atlanta Surgi-Center had logged 1,748 abortions, but had only sent 155 fetuses for disposal. The investigation into fetus disposal was prompted by local prolifers reporting that they had seen hundreds of fetuses in the clinic's dumpsters. Dr. Gay, the clinic director, denied the allegations. It is possible that Atlanta Surgi-Center is the same facility as the "Atlanta Northside" facility where Geneva Calton had her fatal abortion in 1979.

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