Tuesday, December 16, 2008

1998: A lingering death from the best care available

On December 16, 1998, 29-year-old Venus Ortiz died in a New York nursing home. She had been there, in a vegetative state, for nearly six years. Her death had been set in motion at Eastern Women's Center in New York City -- a National Abortion Federation member clinic.

Venus Ortiz had been 23 years old when she went to Eastern for a safe, legal abortion on February 24, 1993. Evidence indicated that the abortion of Venus' approximately 15-week pregnancy was performed by a Dr. Leiber. Her family alleged that there was negligence in administering anesthesia to Venus, and failure to establish an airway. Brevital, fentanyl, and midazolam were administered in dosages and manners contrary to standards of practice, causing Venus to suffer a synergistic reaction.

Eastern's staff failed to promptly diagnose and attend to cardio-pulmonary arrest. Eastern's notes of 5:35 PM indicate "2:35 PM end of surgery ... we noticed patient's ashen color and the pulse oximeter tracing and digital readout were gone from the monitor." Emergency medical services were called. The reading of Venus' blood pressure at that time was 90/55; four minutes later it was recorded as being 146/62.

Venus was transported by ambulance to a hospital, accompanied by Dr. Cyrus, Dr. Goodman, and/or Dr. Jeffrey P. Moskowitz. However, the damage had already been done. Venus was left in permanent need of respirator, with profound brain damage. She was hospitalized a little over five months before being transferred to permanent nursing home care, where she remained, her condition unimproved, until her death.

To further underscore Eastern's neglect of patients' needs, the suit also noted that although this was her 4th abortion, Venus had not been referred to a social worker.

Two other patients, Dawn Ravenelle and Dawn Mack, also died of complications of abortions done at Eastern Women's Center.

But prochoicers pooh-pooh the idea that it's poor judgement to trust a NAF member to provide safe, professional abortion care.

For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:

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