Twenty-four-year-old Patricia Ann King went to Dean H. Diment in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a safe and legal abortion on May 4, 1987. She was a smoker and was obese, two risk factors that Diment should have been taking carefully into account when administering general anesthesia.
Patricia went into cardiac arrest after being injected with anesthetic.
Paramedics arrived at Diment's Statewide Clinic and found the place so unclean that they could have written their names in the dust. Patricia's sister later described the facility as "like a haunted house."
Diment told the medics that he had injected Neo-Synephrine and sodium bicarbonate into Patricia's heart but no one had performed CPR or made any other attempt to revive her. She had been in arrest for 20 minutes. Paramedics could not revive her. They had trouble merely getting her through the building and out the door -- having to tilt the gurney at a 60-degree angle just to navigate the corridors.
Diment's associates at Statewide Clinic had a history of legal troubles. The medical director, Jimmie C. Tooney, had pleaded guilty in 1973 of writing narcotics prescriptions for a convicted drug dealer. Administrator William R. Cloud had been charged with conspiracy to commit illegal abortion in the early 1970's but had the charge dropped after abortion was legalized by Roe v. Wade.
Statewide Clinic advertised that it was "licensed by the state," but at the time of Patricia's death, abortion clinics were not regulated by the state of Oklahoma. Statewide had not been inspected since the attorney general had declared state oversight unconstitutional in 1984.
- "Anesthesia use raises abortion concerns," St. Petersburg (FL) Times, October 1, 1989