Sunday, April 27, 2014

Death Under Doctors' Care; Discharged to Bleed to Death

Dr. Charles P. Wood admitted that Elvira Woodward had come to his house in Manchester, New Hampshire, on April 1 and remained there until her death on April 27, 1871. He said that she'd expelled a dead fetus on April 3, and that she suffered from puerperal fever. Elvira took ill, languishing and finally dying on April 27, at about 2:30 PM, at Wood's house. Dr. Wood was convicted of performing the fatal abortion on Elvira. It is unclear how the prosecutor or the jury identified him, from among all the doctors who had attended Elvira, as the guilty party. It may have hinged on Wood's unsavory reputation. He began his local career as a machinist, did a quick study to get a dental license, then took a bit more training and began practicing medicine as an allopath -- whereupon he developed a reputation as an abortionist.

On April 27, 1990, 28-year-old divorcee Sandra Milton (pictured, left) underwent an abortion, performed by Dr. Carl Armstrong (pictured, right) at Toledo Medical Services in Ohio. Sandra's abortion was performed at 10 a.m., and she was discharged shortly thereafter for the 90-minute drive home to Sandusky.

The babysitter stayed with Sandra and her three children, ages 10, 7, and 5, for three hours as the young mother slipped in and out of consciousness and suffered pain and abdominal swelling. Twice the alarmed babysitter called the clinic, but was told that the symptoms were normal. The third time the babysitter called the clinic, she got no response at all, and summoned an ambulance. Sandra was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital at 6:01 p.m. The medical examiner found a one-inch uterine perforation. Her abdomen was full of blood. She had bled to death internally.

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