Friday, June 16, 2006

On this date: the death of Margaret Clodfelter and Jane Doe of Newark, Margaret Smith

This is the anniversary of the death of Margaret Paula Clodfelter, who was 19 years old when she had an abortion at Richmond Medical Center For Women on June 2, 1989. The abortion was performed by William Fitzhugh.

After she was discharged from the clinic, Margaret had pain and bleeding. She called the facility to consult with them, but they did not tell her that she needed any further care.

On June 4, she sought treatment at a hospital, where she was diagnosed with retained fetal tissue and a perforated uterus. She underwent a D&C. She developed infection, so doctors performed a hysterectomy. Their efforts were in vain. Margaret died on June 16, 1989. She left behind a husband and a one-year-old son.


Today is also the anniversary of the death of a 20-year-old Newark college student, identified in prolife sources as "Jane Doe of Newark." She underwent an abortion by Dr. Steven Berkman at Metropolitan Medical Associates on June 16, 1993. Jane reportedly felt dizzy in recovery. Berkman examined her, noted that she had a perforated uterus, and had her taken to a hospital by ambulance. She died in surgery, leaving her four-year-old son motherless.

"We are intensely investigating this matter," said an attorney for Jane's family. "We know something occurred that shouldn't have. We had a healthy 20-year-old go into that clinic and not come out. And I think a delay had something to do with it."

Berkman said that there was no delay in transporting Jane to the hospital. He also said he did not believe she died from blood loss. The Bergen County Medical Examiner found that Jane had died from hemorrhage from a perforated uterus. He ruled the death accidental.

Jane Roe is "Tracy" on Life Dynamics' "Blackmun Wall".


Today is the anniversary of the death of twenty-five-year-old Margaret Louise Smith, who traveled from Michigan to New York for an abortion because she had been exposed to rubella. Her abortionist, Jesse Ketchum, had run a criminal abortion practice in Michigan, before carpetbagging to Buffalo when New York legalized abortion on demand.

Ketchum performed a vaginal hysterotomy on Margaret at 10:30 the morning of June 16, 1971. Margaret was then left virtually unattended until her boyfriend retured at 2:00. He found Margaret unresponsive, and begged Ketchum and his staff to do something.

Paramedics were summoned, but they were unable to revive Margaret. She was taken to a hospital across the street from Ketchum's office, where she was pronouced dead on arrival.

Margaret's vagina had been sutured, but a laceration in her uterus and cervix had not been repaired. She had bled to death.

Ketchum was charged with criminally negligent homicide in Margaret's death. Before his case went to trial, he performed a similar abortion on Carole Schaner of Ohio. Carol suffered similar injuries ad bled to death in her motel room after Ketchum discharged her.

Ketchum was convicted on October 26, 1973, despite the fact that renouned abortionist Milan Vuitch (who had challenged the District of Columbia abortion law) testified on his behalf.

Vuitch himself, like Ketchum, had kept his nose clean as a criminal abortionist, then gone on to kill two legal abortion patients. Wilma Harris and Georgianna English both died under Vuitch's care.


Shari Russell* had an ultrasound by Dr. Gary DeBakey on June 16, 1992. DeBakey informed Mr. and Mrs. Russell "that their child was a little girl," and that she had anencephaly. The Russells wanted the infant delivered by C-section "to give the child a chance to live if she could," but reported that DeBakey pressured them to choose abortion. DeBakey told them that Shari's medical condition necessitated immediate abortion and "that any delay in the abortion could cost [Shari] her life and that would leave her 7-year-old daughter, [Meghan], without a mother." Under this pressure, the Russells relented, and DeBakey referred them to Robert P. Kaminsky for an abortion.

Kaminsky failed to verify that Shari had any life-threatening condition. Only after the abortion of the baby, whom the family had named Rebecca, did the family learn that Shari had no medical indications for abortion, "that anencephalic children are not necessarily stillborn, and that the abortion was not necessary for the safety of [Shari.]" Mr. and Mrs. Russell sued Kaminski for fraudulent concealment, failure "to disclose the emotional and psychological risks and hazards to the family members," "mental anguish, emotional distress and torment, emotional trauma, loss of affection, loss of solace, loss of comfort, loss of assistance, loss of love, loss of companionship and society, and harm to their family relationships." Suit was also filed on behalf of Meghan for the loss of her baby sister.

*Names changed to protect confidentiality of the family. Doctors' names have not been changed.

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