Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Death from the Dark Ages and one from Our Enlightened Age

On December 13, 1926, 23-year-old Chicago native Mary Paradowski underwent a criminal abortion. She died on December 20 at Chicago Hospital. On January 15, 1927, midwife Josephine Petrova was indicted for felony murder in Mary's death.
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Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about abortion in this era, see
Abortion in the 1920s. For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion.

Fast forward to our more enlightened and woman-loving era. Jennifer M. Halner, 27 years old, died in Maryland on December 21, 1997, after a purportedly safe, legal abortion at Potomac Family Planning for a safe, legal abortion. She was given Versed (for sedation and memory impairment), Sublimaze (a short-acting narcotic used for short-duration pain control), Propofol (a sedative for anesthesia), with Lidocaine, a local anesthetic. She was taken off the monitor in recovery even though she was already showing signs of a possible life-threatening complication. A nurse noticed and asked a doctor for some medication -- on two different occasions, because the first drug the nurse asked for didn't help -- but no doctor went to evaluation Jennifer's condition. Only when the nurse noticed that Jennifer had no pulse or respiration was she able to get a doctor do help. He started resuscitation, using the wrong equipment.Only after numerous clumsy attempts to revive the patient themselves did staff do what they should have done at the first sign of life-threatening trouble: call 911. The medics arrived and started actually providing appropriate emergency care, and took Jennifer to a hospital. Hospital staff managed to stabilize her, but only temporarily since the damage had already been done.

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