Monday, May 17, 2021

May 18: A College Student's Fatal Journey

Pamela Modugno, a college student, died Wednesday, May 17, 1972 during an abortion at Monsey Medical Center in New York. She was 18 years old. Cardiac arrest due to air embolism. She was the second death from a safe, legal abortion in the county since New York liberalized the abortion laws effective July 1, 1970. The first had been Edith Clark.

County Medical Examiner Dr. Frederick Zugibe postulated that reverse air pressure from a suction unit might have blown air into Pam's bloodstream.

Monsey Medical Center had opened two days after abortion was legalized. The director, Dr. Lester Lando, was a licensed OB/GYN.

Pam's father, Thomas Modugno sued for negligence in how the abortion was performed and under the theory that the abortion was "assault and trespass" against Pam because at the time of the abortion, no surgery was permitted on an unmarried patient without parental consent except in an emergency.

Pam is identified as "Danielle" in Life Dynamics' list of safe, legal abortion deaths.

Sources:

  • "18-year-old student dies during abortion," The Journal News, May 18, 1972
  • "Abortion death suit filed," The Journal News, January 18, 1973

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