Saturday, June 22, 2013

Deadly "Safe" Abortions

The first two deaths we commemorate today are of a woman and a teenage girl who died from "safe and legal" abortions. In both of these cases, as well as in a related case, abortion facility staff made appalling screw-ups in medicating patients and in their attempts at resuscitation. And although less is known about the circumstances of the third death, it still falls under the category of "safe abortion" as defined by advocates of legalization.

Dr. Dehli Thweatt
Thirty-two-year-old Kelly Morse of Vermont traveled with her husband to Hillcrest Women's Medical Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for an abortion on June 19, 1996. Because the waiting room of the clinic was so crowded, Kelly's husband, Scott, waited for her outside. No doubt his attention was grabbed by the sound of an approaching ambulance. Just as it was pulling into the clinic driveway, a clinic staffer came out and told Scott that the ambulance was there for his wife He went in with the ambulance crew to find Kelly, naked and blue-black from lack of oxygen, lying on a table that was halfway out of the examination room into the hallway. The paramedics put a breathing tube into Kelly, properly administered medications, and performed CPR as they transported Kelly to nearby Polyclinic Medical Center, where she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. Her condition continued to deteriorate, and she was pronounced dead on June 22.  An investigation found that even though Kelly had notified Hillcrest staff that she had asthma and was allergic to the "caine" medications, including Lidocaine, Abortionist Dehli Thweatt (pictured) administered Lidocaine to Kelly at about 11 a.m. Kelly immediately had trouble breathing. A licensed practical nurse got Kelly's inhaler from her purse and helped her to use it, but it was not helping. Thweatt continued with the abortion, completing it in about four minutes, and spent some time providing ineffectual care to Kelly before having an ambulance summoned. The lawsuit filed by Kelly's widower noted, "No one started an IV. No respiration rate was recorded, no pulse was checked and no blood pressure was measured. No EKG was applied. No cardiac monitoring was conducted. No pulse oximeter was applied. No intubation or emergency tracheotomy was performed. No oxygen was administered. Kelly continued to agitate in fear, desperately gasping for air, and remained blue in color. Defendant Thweatt just stood there with a stethoscope in hand and listened to Kelly's breathing and wheezing progressively worsen." Court documents in the case indicate that Hillcrest advertised Thweatt as being a Board-certified ob/gyn, yet "Defendant Thweatt failed the Ob/Gyn Board certification examination not once, not twice, but on three consecutive attempts." Dr. Earl McLeod, who operates Hillcrest, also had a patient die after not being properly resuscitated.

Shortly after midnight on June 22, 1985, a hospital staffer checked on 17-year-old Deborah Ann Lozinski. Deborah had been in a coma since the day she had undergone a safe and legal abortion at Medical Care Center in Woodbridge, New Jersey two months earlier.  Deborah's parents filed suit against Dr. Scheininger, Dr. Sinha, and other staff for failing to properly screen and examine Deborah prior to her abortion. They also said that staff failed to properly monitor their daughter's vital signs during the abortion, failing to quickly detect and properly treat respiratory difficulty. As a result, Deborah suffered the brain damage that had caused her coma.

These abortion deaths fall under the classification of "safe abortion" as defined by the international abortion rights lobby. The same can be said of the illegal abortion death we commemorate today.

On June 22, 1928, 31-year-old Rose Hannover died at the office of Dr. Lester I. Ofner from complications of an abortion performed there that day. Ofner was held by the coroner on July 28. On November 28, he was acquitted. The source documents do not indicate why, so we have no way of knowing if he was wrongly identified by the coroner, if the prosecution screwed up, or if the way the law was written made getting a conviction difficult. However, since Offner had the training, and the available tools, to get Rose safely through the abortion, her abortion, although fatal, was "safe."

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