Tuesday, October 25, 2005

An example of abortion malpractice

Statistics on abortion complications can't tell you what it's like to endure such a complication. Here is one woman's story, from medical board documents.

A patient identified as "B.J.," age 22, testified in a state hearing that she had an abortion done by Dr. Scott R. Barrett at Central Healthcare Clinic for Women in Springfield, Missouri on February 27, 1990. B.J. was 14.5 weeks pregnant, according to records, and had cervical cancer. She was rendered unconscious for her abortion.

B.J. said that she awoke screaming during her abortion, and begged Barrett to stop. But Barrett proceeded and had an employee clamp a hand over B.J.'s mouth.

B.J. again lost consciousness. She awoke on a chair in the recovery room, with the bottom of her shirt drenched in blood. The next thing she remembered was Barrett carrying her out to her car. A friend drove B.J. to the hospital -- without any clinic staff even accompanying them.

The doctor who performed emergency surgery on B.J. said, "It would take a lot of force, an extreme amount of force to do that kind of damage." B.J. had a 10 centimeter perforation of her uterus, and had lost around 80% of her blood. The ligaments around her uterus were severed, and her right ovary had been torn loose. She had to have her uterus and ovary removed due to the damage.

The note that Barrett sent to the hospital with B.J. described her abortion as "uneventful." The note also failed to disclose all the medications administered to B.J.

The hearing document slams Barrett, noting that "having nearly eviscerated his patient and with her clearly in critical condition, he sent her to the hospital in a private car during rush hour. ... A more egregious example of incompetence and gross negligence is difficult to imagine."

Although B.J.'s records don't say so, other documents show that Barrett did not use legitimate general anesthesia for his abortion patients. Instead, he'd overdose them on Lidocaine, a local anesthetic. This would render the patient unconscious. It would also stop some of them from breathing, but Barrett and his staff were able to revive them -- all but Stacy Ruckman, who died.

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