Friday, September 18, 2020

September 18: Falsified Documents and Inadequate Equipment

One of Three at a National Abortion Federation Clinic, 2003

Dr. Alberto Hodari
According to this administrative complaintRegina Johnson (Identified only by the initials R.J.) was 32 years old when she went to Womancare of Southfield, Michigan on September 18, 2003. The clinic was owned by Dr. Abraham Alberto Hodari, darling of Medical Students for Choice. Regina was pregnant for the fourth time, having given birth once, and either aborted or miscarried twice. Hodari, owner of Womancare, was not present at the time.

Nurse Litchtig performed an ultrasound, "even though there was no physician order for the study. She interpreted the study as showing a five week pregnancy and signed [Hodari's] name..." Nathanson initialed  the ultrasound to confirm Lichtig's finding.

CRNA Thompson did the anesthesia while Dr. Milton Nathanson did the abortion. Regina was given 200 mg of Diprivan, 2 mg Fentanyl, .2mg Gylcopyrrolate, and Droperidol to anestetize her for the abortion, which was charted as taking place from 9:55 to 10:05 a.m.

Regina was then sent to the recovery room, along with five or six other patients under the care of Litchtig. Though clinic protocol required more than one staff person present when patients were in recovery, Lichtig was sometimes alone in caring for the patients.

Though Hodari's recovery room was equipped with a stethescope, oxygen bag/valve mask, and digital blood pressure cuff, it was not equipped with an EKG monitor, pulse oximeter, or automatic blood pressure/pulse monitor with alarm for monitoring patients, or with oxygen, a defibrillator, or other resuscitation equipment.

Lichtig recorded Regina's blood pressure and pulse manually upon admission to recovery, and at 10 - 15 minute intervals. At 10:05, Regina's blood pressure and pulse were a normal 116/72 and 82. At 10:15, they were 108/56 and 88. This fall in blood pressure and rise in pulse, especially in combination, are an early sign that a patient might be suffering complications such as blood loss. However, Lichtig reported that Regina's respiration was easy and unlabored.

The document notes that Lichtig was actually performing above the call of duty: Womancare protocol only required her to check a patient's vitals upon arrival in recovery, at 15 minues, and at discharge, usually after about an hour in recovery. Hodari's protocol also allowed for the nurse to discharge patients from the clinic. "There was no provision that the patient be seen by a physician once she was transferred to the recovery room."

At 10:30, Lichtig was unable to rouse Regina, who still had a pulse and unlabored breathing. Lichtig tried for about ten minutes to awaken Regina. At about 10:40, she could no longer detect a pulse. She immediately told CRNA Thompson, who was then wheeling another patient into recovery. The two of them brought Regina back to the OR and began performing CPR. However, nobody called 911 until 11:00, twenty minutes after noting that Regina was pulseless. EMS arrived promptly, at 11:05.

EMS took Regina to Providence Hospital, where with continued CPR and got a pulse. Regina was put on life support, but was pronounced brain dead. She was taken off life support and declared dead on September 18. An autopsy determined that Regina had died from anoxic encephalopathy due to cardiac arrest. In other words, she died because her brain had been deprived of oxygen.

The Administrative Complaint found Hodari to be negligent, incompetent, and lacking in good moral character. Hodari did not contest the findings, instead cooperating with bringing his facility up to standards to pass an inspection by an anesthesiologist in February of 2009. But in the mean time, he'd performed the fatal abortions on Tamiia Russell and Chivon Williams in 2004.

The state Attorney General's office fined Hodari $10,000 on March 4, 2009, for his part in the death.

The latest National Abortion Federation update no longer lists Womancare as a member, though they were recently. They certainly were in 2004, when Chivon and Tamiia died, which is the oldest page of Michigan NAF members that I can find on the Internet Archive. Womancare was also still a member in 2007, the most recent update on the Internet Archive. I'd be very interested in having NAF Annual Reports so I could look up what years Hodari and his mills were members.

Safe and Legal in North Carolina, 1993

Thirty-six-year-old Kathy McKnight (pictured) of Charlotte, North Carolina underwent an abortion on September 17, 1993. Early the next morning, Kathy had trouble breathing. She was taken to University Memorial Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kathy died in the emergency room. Her autopsy revealed that she died of a pulmonary embolism.

An Unknown Perp in Oklahoma, 1958

Shortly after 1:00 in the morning on September 18, 1958, Frank Tarbet of Norman, Oklahoma, was awakened by a knock on the door. Outside he found "Bettina," the 12-year-old daughter of his neighbor, 31-year old "Glenda Coe" (named changed at request of family). The little girl said that her mother was "very cold." Tarbet went with Bettina to Glenda's bedroom, where he found her dead on her bed, dressed in street clothes except for shoes. Tabet notified the police at 1:18 a.m.

The police questioned Bettina, who said that at around 8:00 the previous evening she and her four younger sisters had gotten ready for bed. At around 8:30 Glenda had taken off her shoes and laid down on her bed. The girls retired for the night. Bettina woke at around 1:00 and been unable to awaken her mother. 

Tabet told police that he had seen a pickup truck leave Glenda's house at around 10:45 the previous evening. His daughter told police that she'd seen the pickup at around midnight, and somebody had carried a woman from the truck into the Coe home. Glenda's first husband, plumber James P. Morton, was picked up by the police and brought to the station at around 2:40 a.m. He owned a pickup truck matching the description of the truck the neighbors had seen at Glenda's house. The couple had been divorced for about a year. Glenda and her second husband, "Oscar Coe," had been married for about eight months but he and Glenda has separated and she had filed for divorce in July. Oscar was quickly dismissed by the police as not involved in Glenda's death.

There were no obvious signs of foul play. At first, authorities suspected either natural death or a suicide. However, Glenda's neck was slightly swollen and discolored and all evidence indicated that Glenda, a former waitress, had been in good health before her death. X-rays found no injuries. An autopsy found that Glenda had died due to air bubbles in her bloodstream, and that she had been pregnant at the time of her death. A more careful examination determined that Glenda had died from an abortion attempt.  

Morton was held for murder by the police but I have been unable to determine if or how the case proceeded. (See newly added sources, below.)

A Doctor in Tacoma, 1929

Sometime most likely in September of 1929, physician and surgeon H. W. Coulter performed an abortion upon 21-year-old Gene Raligh, leading to her death in Tacoma, Washington on September 18 from septicemia. 

Gene's survivors alleged that not only did Coulter injure her, but he also failed to treat her infection and instead concealed the extent of her illness and injury, preventing her from getting medical care that might have saved her life.

Census records still show Coulter living at home with his wife in 1930, so if he was prosecuted he was not convicted.

  • "Mother of Four Found Dead Here," The Norman Transcript, September 18, 1958
  • "1st Husband Held In Woman's Death," The Norman Transcript, September 19, 1958
  • "Death Probe Continuing," The Norman Transcript, September 22, 1958

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