Saturday, May 31, 2008

1986: Abortion turns fatal in Dallas

The survivors of Dorothy Brant filed suit against Dr. Robert Prince in her death.

The suit said that Prince failed to perform a proper pre-operative evaluation before performing an abortion on 22-year-old Dorothy at Dallas Medical Ladies Clinic on May 27, 1986. Dorothy hemorrhaged during the procedure. In the lawsuit, her family said that Prince was negligent in his administration of drugs, anesthesia, and in his administration of a blood transfusion. Dorothy was transferred to a hospital, where she died four days later of pulmonary fibrosis.


trailer park said...

According to CDC statistics, more than 250 American women died in childbirth in 1986. Shouldn't they be in the Cemetery of Choice, too?

Christina Dunigan said...

Only if you want the NTSB to count automobile fatalities in among the air-crash deaths.

I'd go into it with you but judging from your other post you have this adoration for abortion that won't be shaken by anything like facts.

trailer park said...

Only if you want the NTSB to count automobile fatalities in among the air-crash deaths.

Automobile fatalities aren't air-crash deaths.

But birth is a reproductive choice, just like abortion. It happens to be more deadly for women than abortion. Why don't those women deserve your recognition and mourning? After all, they died doing what you want all women to do. Why no tears for them?

Christina Dunigan said...

I wrote a very angry response which I deleted because it contributes nothing.

I have YET to see a prochoicer look at a childbirth death and actually assess for preventability factors. All they do is smile smugly and say, "See? Another point scored for safe, legal abortion!" As if just scraping out every woman who concieves is the answer.

My best friend had life-threatening complications with all of her pregnancies. ALL of them had to be terminated. They were termintated by EMERGENCY C-SECTIONS. My friend has THREE LIVE BABIES. Bev didn't need abortions -- she needed high-risk obstetric care.

My friend Ashli didn't find out until after an unwanted abortion that there are effective treatments for hyperemesis gravidarum. She was able to carry the next two pregnancies successfully to term. She didn't WANT an abortion. She didn't NEED an abortion. She needed TPN.

Prochoicers abandon women like Bev and Ashli to despair and anguish because abortion is your answer to everything. One size fits all. Who gives a rat's ass what the woman wants or actually needs?

Snake oil sales. That's all abortion is.

And yes, this post is angry, but it's a lot less angry than the original. And it's a lot less anger than you people deserve, for dancing on the shredded remains of Ashli's beloved first child, and on the grave of every woman who ever needed medical care and didn't get it because the self-appointed Champions of Women's Lives were too busy promoting abortion to give a rat's ass.

D said...

How sad. Sometimes, it turns out that the doctors really did all they could and other times it turns out that there really was a mistake and they should be held accountable.

This is true of ALL kinds of surgery. Should we call this the cemetary of surgery, perhaps?

Trailer park has a point, GG, for all that one has to sift through the rest of the post to get to it: Childbirth is a choice, at least to those of us in the first world who have access to birth control and abortion. If a doctor made a mistake with a woman in childbirth, like Dr. Prince is said to have done with Ms. Brant, and that woman died, wouldn't you want the doctor held accountable?

Christina Dunigan said...

I'm all for having doctors held accountable for all manner of malpractice. But alone of all surgeries, abortion has hoards of fawning supporters who have the motto of "Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil." Heads in the sand, ignoring the problems.

There's no organization I know of working to fight against informed consent and strict standards of care for liposuction, Lasix, breast implants, or other elective surgery. Just for abortion.

If a woman does her homework and investigatates "how to choose a safe, qualified abortion provider", odds are she'll end up with a referral to the nearest National Abortion Federation member. Which could mean a referral to a total quack. NAF members have included a guy who had an untrained receptionist administering anesthesia, a guy with such a history of quackery and malpractice that The New York Post dubbed him "The Butcher of Avenue A", and a clinic that fatally injured two teenage patients in one hour.

And if a woman does independent research and hears of a death from prolife sources, NAF will lie to her and tell her that the death never happened, that nobody with "serious complications" is allowed to be a NAF member.

Are there any comparable organizations protecting quackery, and providing patient referrals under false pretenses, for other elective surgeries?

D said...

It's a reaction, GG. You don't see heart surgery or even liposuction with hordes of detractors eager to ban it for non-medical reasons. I'm all for informed consent, but I suspect that most of the anti-abortion idea of "informed consent" is really "anti-abortion propaganda."

NAF is a much better source for abortion providers than any conservative organization. In my experience, most of the anti-abortion movement is so eager to keep women from having abortions that they will tell any sort of lie. Those conservative sites just can't be trusted.

Perhaps we'd be better off if the AMA created a politically neutral registry. But then there would be the challenge of keeping it politically neutral.

I've speculated upon whether these accusations of quackery--and I wouldn't be surprised if a few of them turned out to be true; there was that one clinic in New Jersey last year--are a result of moving abortion services away from hospitals and into clinics decades ago. The idea was that this would provide better service, but I think that it's backfired. A woman who goes to an abortion clinic can be targeted and a woman who happens to walk into a hospital cannot. Also, the fact that there are fewer providers in hospitals means that fewer doctors get trained.

You seem to have made a study of this matter, GG. I would like to know what you think of this: (

D said...

Pardon me, but the URL has been cut off. I wanted to know what you thought about this passage on the Planned Parenthood website FAQ that responds to the question "How Safe Are Abortion Procedures?" That should do it.

Christina Dunigan said...

They're making claims about the comparative safety of abortion versus childbirth when we have no idea what the mortality rate is from abortion.

The CDC publishes mortality statistics, but they're gathered n a very dulsatory, slipshod manner. It's comprable to setting a bushel backet under a tree in an apple orchard, counting the number of apples that land in the basket, and then publishing that number as an accurate reflection of the total number of apples that fell in the entire orchard.

They didn't even bother to count Latachie Veal, when her abortionist discussed her death openly at a National Abortion Federation event attended by two CDC Abortion Surveillance staffers -- Stanley Henshaw and Lisa Koonin: AND LISA KOONIN WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR IDENTIFYING ABORTION DEATHS.

The only way Latachie's death could have been any more glaringly obvious would have been for her to crawl to Atlanta and die on the floor of Lisa Koonin's office, with her aftercare instructions still clutched in her hand. And then I imagine Koonin would have simply stepped over the body and shouted for somebody to clear it away.

They don't know how many deaths there are, but they pretend they do. This is a deliberate falsehood. And you swallow it obediently.

D said...

Have you read about Ms. Veal in other places? This is an anti-abortion website. Are there any straight newspaper articles? Sometimes police reports are made public, but I don't know if this would have been registered as a crime.

And I am more willing to take PP's word than RC's because PP has less in the way of ulterior motives. People who believe, right or wrong, that they are saving innocent lives will be willing to lie to do it. How do you know that these other people are telling the truth?

D said...

Okay, Google just gives me a long list of anti-abortion blogs. One of them said that Ms. Veal's death made all the Houston newspapers, but at the moment I can't find any of them online. How long ago was this? NYTimes, Houston Chronicle, and Popline don't give any hits when I run the search. Do you know where I could find a nominally apolitical article about Ms. Veal?

Christina Dunigan said...

I don't know what their online archives include.

The Houston Chronicle had articles about Latachie's death on November 3, 6, and 11 of 1991. The Kansas City Star covered her death on November 6, 1991. The Springfield News-Leader on November 24, 1991. The Houston Post on November 7 and 12 of 1991. The Washington Times had an article on November 21 of 1991.

And as I said, Crist discussed the death at the 1992 National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar in Dallas in 1992, blaming the death on DIC. The tapes are a bit hard to come by since they're full of stuff that plaintiff attorneys would just about kill to get their hands on.

I searched the Houston Chronicle archives and found:

Death of teen after abortion leads to probe of care at medical clinic: 11/06/1991 - "State health officials began an investigation Tuesday into the care given a teen-ager who died after undergoing an abortion at a southwest Houston clinic. The girl was dead on arrival at Ben Taub Hospital at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday, said spokesman Roger Widmeyer, who declined to release her name. .... Although state law bars the Texas Department of Health from identifying an abortion clinic under investigation, local health officials and a spokeswoman for West Loop Clinic at 5607 Schumacher confirmed that state officials were looking into the weekend incident. The state Board of Medical Examiners said no disciplinary action has been taken against Dr. Robert Crist, an Overland Park, Kan., physician who performed the abortion. State law prohibits the agency from discussing whether it was investigating the girl's death. Crist could not be reached for comment. A spokeswoman for West Loop Clinic said the girl's death was reported by clinic officials. Such reports are part of the clinic's policy. .... Sources said the girl underwent a second-trimester abortion at the clinic.... She began bleeding after the procedure and was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. The girl was dead on arrival."

Secrecy veils state probes of abortion clinics/Laws limit consumer access to records on medical care - 02/09/1992 -- "When a 17-year-old girl arrived by ambulance at Ben Taub Hospital last week, she was hemorrhaging and in critical condition after an abortion. Doctors and nursers at the publicly funded hospital were particularly concerned about this case because of a similar one three months before. A 16-year-old Port Arthur girl had died on arrival at Ben Taub after undergoing a second trimester-abortion at the same facility -- the West Loop Clinic. The Harris County Medical Examiners office ruled that the Port Arthur girl bled to death because her uterus did not contract and shut off what might have been normal bleeding after the abortion. The other teen-ager is still hospitalized at Ben Taub."

Doctor labels reports of death of abortion patient media hype - 11/11/1991 - "Authorities in Houston began an investigation last week into the death of a 17-year-old patient who died Nov. 2 at a Houston hospital hours after undergoing an abortion at a Houston clinic. Reports of the woman's death have appeared in television and newspapers in Kansas City and Houston. .... Crist said Saturday he did not know the patient had any problems after being released from the clinic. She spent 2 1/2 hours in recovery, he said. "She left, to the best of my knowledge, in excellent condition," Crist said. .... The Kansas City Star detailed two cases last week that Crist said were dismissed. One involved a retarded woman in St. Louis who died two days after an abortion...."

Abortion doctor has history of suits/Port Arthur teen's death investigated - 11/07/1991 - "A doctor under investigation by state health officials since the death of a Port Arthur teen-ager on whom he performed an abortion here has been sued for malpractice six times in eight years. .... The 17-year-old, whose family has retained a legal team headed by Richard "Racehorse" Haynes, started bleeding after the procedure at the West Loop Clinic at 5607 Schumacher on Saturday. She was dead on arrival at Ben Taub Hospital. .... The teen underwent the abortion during her second trimester."

I had to do the search for Crist's name, since none of the articles gave the name of the victim.

D said...

Ah, I had been running the search using Ms. Veal's name.

Thank you very much. These articles seem well-balanced and informative.

The second article seems to hit the issue right on the head: "The question is whether these events represent only the mishaps that occur on rare occasions in medicine, or whether they are symptomatic of a pattern of poor care." This whole passages seems to get the gist of what you and I have been talking about, "The secrecy provisions were prompted by the potentially violent activities of abortion opponents.

This puts clinics that come into the public eye in a form of limbo: They are not publicly castigated or punished, but neither are they publicly exonerated. It also leaves consumers in the lurch because they have no ready answers to questions about the quality of care they can expect. Hospitals and doctors can only evaluate a clinic's care based on the patients they see -- and frequently those are patients in trouble."

As for abortion and women's health clinics being required to display their licenses, I really don't see any reason why not, so long as the process can be kept reasonably apolitical and so long as it does not leave any part of the country without abortion services.

Christina Dunigan said...

In some cases the deaths seem to be flukey things, like Vanessa Preston at Fairmount in Dallas. As far as I can tell, Boyd and his staff promptly recognized a medical emergency, immediately instituted protocols, and would have successfully resuscitated their patient had the procedure not been so new -- they just thought of it as a later, sloppier D&C so they didn't expect coaguloapthy. And Boyd did write it up for medical journals and warn his fellows to be prepared. If one assumes no ulterior motive in doing an abortion in the first place, then one can place no blame on Boyd for Vanessa's death.

Others are not so benign situations. They're frankly appalling. And prochoice organizations and leadership either turn a blind eye or whitewash everything. What was going on at Inglewood Women's Hospital/Clinic wasn't an occasional flukey thing by any stretch of the imagination.