Friday, June 26, 2020

June 26: Florida Woman Sent Home to Bleed to Death

Pamela Jean Colson, age 31, was 12 weeks pregnant when friends drive her to Women's Medical Services in Pensacola, Florida, for a safe and legal abortion on Saturday, June 25, 1994. The abortion was performed by Dr. William Philip Keene.

Pamela bled heavily during the drive home. According to her friends, Pamela began having trouble breathing when they were about halfway home to Port St. Joe. She became unresponsive at around 7:30 p.m., so they pulled into the parking lot of Scottish Inn in Panama City. The hotel's manager said that two passers-by did CPR while Pamela's friends called for an ambulance. Somebody else attempted to wave down traffic to seek additional help.

When medics arrived they found Pamela in full cardiac and respiratory arrest. They took over her care and transported her to Bay Medical Center. Surgeons there performed an emergency hysterectomy in a vain attempt to save Pamela's life. She died shortly after midnight the following day.

Her autopsy showed: bloodstained fluid in chest and peritoneal space, and "extensive hematoma formation in the pelvic area with the peritoneum denuded from the left gutter area caudually." The surgeon who performed an emergency hysterectomy, trying to save Pamela's life, had removed her uterus at the site of the laceration "so that the laceration was a portion of the incision made to remove the uterus." Her uterus showed extensive hemorrhage and blood clots. Her uterine artery was also injured. Several of Pamela's ribs were fractured, apparently during attempts to resuscitate her; this is common in even properly performed CPR.

The cause of death was given as "irreversible shock from blood loss due to a perforated uterus occurring at the time of an elective abortion." William Keene was tentatively identified as having performed the abortion.

Pamela's fatal abortion was performed at the clinic where abortionist David Gun was shot dead.

After the investigation into Pamela's death, Keene was fired from Sarasota Women's Health Center, the other Florida clinic where he worked. The director of Women's Medical Service, where Pamela's fatal abortion was performed, on the other hand, pooh-poohed the idea of dismissing Keene. "Of course he's allowed to perform abortions. That's a ridiculous question. Complications occur all the time," clinic director Sandy Sheldon told the Tuscaloosa News. She insisted that Pamela had seemed fine, talking and eating, before being discharged from the clinic.

She also showed disdain for the press for covering Pamela's death, telling the Tampa Bay Times, "Patients die all the time, whether it's a gall bladder operation or a hernia or a tonsillectomy, and nobody cares. It's not front-page news. ..... Why is this different? We did everything we were supposed to do." It was evidently lost on her that even the notoriously abortion-friendly Centers for Disease Control long since stated that there was never any legitimate reason for an abortion patient to bleed to death. ("Fatal hemorrhage from legal abortion in the United States," Surgical Gynecology and Obstetrics, November, 1983) David Grimes, et. al., clearly said:

Deaths from hemorrhage associated with legal induced abortion should not occur. Yet hemorrhage was the third most frequent cause of death from legal abortion in the United States between 1972 and 1979.  .... Twenty-four women died from hemorrhage after legal abortion in the United States from 1972 to 1979.... Deaths from hemorrhage can be eliminated by preventing uterine trauma during abortion and by rapidly diagnosing and treating hemorrhage if it occurs.

Pamela's family didn't find out about her death until the following Tuesday because they were traveling at the time. Pamela's parents sued the clinic on behalf of themselves and Pamela's two motherless young children, but the case was dismissed because of the plaintiff attorney's failure to submit an investigation in a timely manner.


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Jane Doe of Newark With New Clippings

A 20-year-old Newark college student, identified in prolife sources as "Jane Doe of Newark," underwent a safe and legal abortion by Dr. Steven Berkman at Metropolitan Medical Associates on June 16, 1993. She was in the second trimester of pregnancy.

Jane reportedly felt dizzy in recovery. Berkman examined her, noted that she had a perforated uterus, and had her taken to a hospital by ambulance. She died in surgery, leaving her four-year-old son motherless.

"We are intensely investigating this matter," said an attorney for Jane's family. "We know something occurred that shouldn't have. We had a healthy 20-year-old go into that clinic and not come out. And I think a delay had something to do with it." Her medical chart showed the injury occurring at 10 a.m., but the ambulance wasn't summoned until two hours later.

A state report cited "chaos and confusion" when the ambulance arrived at the clinic to find Jane lifeless. The ambulance workers were not given adequate information about her condition.

Berkman said that there was no delay in transporting Jane to the hospital. He also said he did not believe she died from blood loss. The Bergen County Medical Examiner found that Jane had died from hemorrhage from a perforated uterus. Jane also had developed a clotting disorder that made it difficult to stop any bleeding. He ruled the death accidental.

Jane Roe is "Tracy" on Life Dynamics' "Blackmun Wall".


Sunday, June 14, 2020

Angela Hall, Updated and with Pics and New Clippings

Angela Hall, a 27-year-old mother of five, felt unable to deal with a sixth child. She saw an advertisement for safe, legal abortionat Thomas Tucker's office in Alabama.  The ad, which pictured a couple walking arm-in-arm, said that Tucker did abortions to 24 weeks. Angela called to schedule an appointment. 

Angela was keeping the abortion a secret from her mother, and drove to Tucker's Birmingham clinic with a friend, Annette Wilson. One of Tucker's employees, Joy Davis, screened Angela and felt that she had risk factors that made abortion in an office setting unsafe. She had a fever and was anemic. Joy got on the phone with Tucker and indicated that she felt that Angela should be referred to a hospital. Tucker told Davis that "we need the money. Just do it. Just put the patient through." 

Tucker ordered her to prep Angela, who was in the second trimester of pregnancy. The fee for Angela's abortion was $1,800. She was already unconscious, under general anesthesia, when Tucker started the abortion on June 11, 1991. Angela started gasping for breath. Her blood pressure fell, setting off an alarm on a piece of monitoring equipment. Tucker told Davis to turn the alarm off because other patients could hear it. "It was a very panicked atmosphere," Joy Davis said. "Dr. Tucker was screaming at us." He managed to stabilize Angela's blood pressure and sent her to the recovery room.

While in recovery, Angela bled so heavily that Davis became alarmed and called an ambulance. "Blood was running down the table," Joy Davis tearfully told reporters. "It was pooling in the floor and running down behind her back." Angela's sheets and hospital gown were soaked. Davis said that Tucker told her that he was the doctor and if anybody was going to make a decision to call the ambulance, it was going to be him.

Davis reported to Tucker that Angela was bleeding through the packing put in place after the abortion, and asked him to do something for his patient.

"What do you want me to do?" he asked her. 

"I don't know," Davis said she responded, "but I want you to do something. She's going to lay here and die."

"Fine. Call the f*ing ambulance," Tucker said before leaving the building, according to Davis. He was loath to call an ambulance, Davis reported, because he had already referred a patient to a hospital that day for complications. 

Angela was taken to the hospital, where she suffered respiratory failure, clotting, and sepsis. It was hours after she was admitted that her friend finally called her mother, in hysterics, to say that Angela was being taken to the Intensive Care Unit. Annette didn't mention the abortion. Angela's mother rushed to the hospital, where she saw her daughter hooked up to tubes, pale, and breathing only faintly. 

She died just before midnight June 14. The autopsy found numerous tears and lesions in the pelvic area, and congestive necrosis in Angela's liver and spleen. The doctors concluded that amniotic fluid embolism had caused clotting problems resulting in necrosis, septic shock, and cardiac arrest. 

When Alabama authorities subpoenaed Angela's records, Tucker ordered Davis to destroy some and falsify others. Davis tore up the records, which he then tried to burn in an ash tray, Davis said. When this set off the clinic's smoke alarm, Tucker put out the fire, bagged up the papers, and told Davis to take the papers to the basement and burn them. Instead, she said, she taped them back together and eventually turned them over to the medical board. 

During the initial investigation, the board learned that Tucker allowed his untrained staff to do medical procedures, including inserting the laminaria sticks to dilate a patient's cervix prior to the abortion, while he wasn't even in-state much less at the clinic.

Tucker surrendered his medical license in order to halt the investigation, planning to renew his license at a later date.

It is interesting to note that in the publicity surrounding the lawsuit filed by Angela's family, Ron Fitzsimmons of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, among other prochoice groups, balked at efforts to close Tucker down, on the grounds that he was Alabama's only abortionist, and that even he was better than no abortionist at all.

Angela's parents took their five grandchildren into their two-bedroom house. Her youngest child has no memories of his mother, only of taking flowers to her grave.