Tuesday, September 27, 2016

From Chicago in 1908 to Los Angeles in 1975

A Midwife's Work in Chicago, 1908

On September 23, 1908, "Mrs. G.," whom I call "Sophie," was admitted to Cook County Hospital in Chicago. Two weeks earlier, when she was ten weeks pregnant, she had undergone an abortion at the hands of a midwife. She began suffering from chills, fever, and abdominal pain about five days later. After two days of these symptoms, a physician treated her with a curettage to try to remove retained material, but this left Sophie feeling even worse.

Over the course of the ensuing week Sophie's condition deteriorated. When she was finally admitted she had a very tender, distended abdomen. Her pulse was racing at 120, her respiration a rapid 30. Her fever was 101.4. She was speaking incoherently. An internal examination found an enlarge uterus, a swollen cervix, and a purulent vaginal discharge.

On September 26, her condition was little changed. An additional surgery was attempted, involving dilating her cervix, curetting the uterus, then irrigating the uterus and packing it with gauze. The results were catastrophic. Sophie's fever spiked to 108.6, her pulse 160 and her respirations 58. She died on September 27, 19 hours after the surgery.

Yet Another Fatal Failure at Inglewood Women's Hospital, 1975

On September 13, 1975, 22-year-old Lynette Wallace underwent a safe and legal abortion at Inglewood Women's Hospital in Los Angeles County.

Early on the morning of September 27, Lynette went to the emergency room reporting abdominal pain. Staff reported that she became agitated and "difficult to handle." They put her in restraints, and she was pronounced dead of cardiopulmonary arrest at 10:53 AM.

The autopsy revealed what the abortionist should have detected -- the pregnancy had not been in Lynette's uterus but in her fallopian tube. The tube had ruptured, spilling blood and a 10-week fetus into Lynette's abdomen.

Women who seek abortion should be less likely to die of ruptured ectopic pregnancies than women who do not seek abortion. After all, the abortionist is supposed to perform an examination verifying the size of the uterus, and is supposed to visually examine the abortion tissue to be sure that the entire fetus and placenta are present. Also, a pathology examination is supposed to be done on the uterine contents to verify the presence of the entire fetal/placental unit. However, women who seek abortion are actually more likely to die of ruptured ectopic pregnancies than women who do not seek abortion. The pain and nausea associated with an ectopic pregnancy are often mistaken for ordinary post-abortion symptoms, and are ignored until the tube ruptures and the woman's life is in danger.

Lynette is one of many deaths currently attributed to Inglewood Women's Hospital (aka Inglewood Women's Clinic) in Los Angeles County. The others are Yvonne Tanner, Kathy Murphy, Belinda Byrd, Cora Lewis, and Elizabeth Tsuji.

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