Thursday, December 26, 2019

Update on the 1975 Deaths of Cheryl and Jacqueline

As I was looking through the Cemetery of Choice for stories that needed more information, I found an article on the death of Cheryl Tubbs. The article also included information about the death later that year of Jacqueline Bailey, also after an abortion at the same facility. I decided to check for more information on Jackie's death specifically and found more. Here are the updated versions along with the articles I found online.

Cheryl Tubbs

At 9:50 a.m. on August 6, 1975, 29-year-old Cheryl L. Tubbs was admitted to Pacific Glen Hospital in Los Angeles County for a saline abortion. She experienced heavy vaginal bleeding after this safe, legal abortion, so she was transferred by private ambulance to White Memorial Hospital at 7:00 pm. on August 7. This ambulance ride took her past at least three other hospitals, including County USC Women's Hospital.

Cheryl continued to bleed profusely, and twice went into cardiac arrest. Staff performed a paracentesis on her to remove blood and fluids from her abdomen. About an hour after midnight, staff could no longer detect any blood pressure. For an hour they tried heart massage, to no avail. Cheryl was pronounced dead at 2:30AM on August 8.
An autopsy revealed that Cheryl's uterus had ruptured during the abortion, spilling blood and uterine material into her abdomen. She had bled to death.

Cheryl's family filed a $1 million lawsuit against Pacific Glen and Dr. W. Constantine Mitchell on behalf of her three minor children. The children were left in the custody of Cheryl's parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Gourley.
Two years later, Jackie Bailey also bled to death from a ruptured uterus caused by a saline abortion at Pacific Glen.

Jacqueline Bailey

At 11:45 am.m.On December 1 or 2, 1977, 29-year-old Jacqueline Bailey was injected with saline by Dr. Airo Tunde Eboreime for an instillation abortion at the 22-bed Pacific Glen Hospital in Los Angeles County. She was 20 weeks pregnant. 

Five hours after Jackie expelled the dead baby, her condition appeared grave. She suffered cardiac arrest. Shortly after midnight on December 3, she was transferred 12 miles to Memorial Hospital of Glendale.

Two patients who were in the same room with Jackie at Pacific Glen told investigators that no physician provided any attention to Jackie between the injection of the saline and the arrival of paramedics to transport her for emergency care. Jackie had called out for help, they said, but she was ignored and somebody even shut the door so that nurses wouldn't be able to hear her. The call button on Jackie's bed was inoperable. Pacific Glen's own records also indicated that Jackie had not been seen by a physician either. It was nurses who noticed that she appeared to have gone into cardiac arrest.

Doctors at Memorial suspected a uterine laceration, so they performed exploratory surgery. The bleeding was so profuse that they then performed a hysterectomy in a last-ditch attempt to save her life. Jackie died at 4:25 a.m. on December 3. The attending physician said that he had found 3,500 to 4,000 ccs of old blood in Jackie's abdomen.

The autopsy report found that Jackie's uterus had ruptured during the abortion, and that her uterine artery had been lacerated. She had bled to deathfrom her injuries. Her grandmother, Hassie Holden, demanded an investigation. She told the Los Angeles Times that she didn't even get notified that Jackie was in trouble until about an hour before her death, when Eborieme called to tell her that Jackie was in serious condition from a hemorrhage. "My son was getting ready to go to the hospital when we got another call that she was dead."

Mrs. Holden also said that Jackie's brother had mistakenly gone to Pacific Glen looking for her and got the runaround from staff. The family never found out that she had been taken to another hospital until they got the $84 ambulance bill. 

Eight of nine jurors at the inquest held that Jackie died "at the hands of others, other than by accident," while the holdout held that Jackie's death had been accidental.

Dr. Gerald Bernstein of Women's Hospital told the Los Angeles Times that in his opinion, "the patient did not receive appropriate medical care and this was an avoidable death."

Due to the two deaths, authorities announced that they would investigate how many of Pacific Glen's abortion patients were discharged home versus transported to other hospitals to be treated for complications. Medi-Cal patients were funneled to Pacific Glen Hospital through Pacific Glen Family Planning Clinic after referrals by social workers at the county health office. A social worker at the office admitted that they had concerns about the care patients were getting but continued to refer them because Pacific Glen accepted Medi-Cal.

Newly added sources:

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