Friday, November 25, 2022

Lime 5: Coma

For some inexplicable reason, all of the coma cases Mark Crutcher selected for this section of Lime 5 were fatal, even though we had cases at that time of women who had not yet died from their injuries. 

First covered is 19-year-old Angela Scott, who stopped breathing in the recovery room of National Abortion Federation member Atlanta Women's Pavillion on June 2, 1979. At the time we went to press, we only knew that Delores Smith, only 15 years old, was left unattended with her anesthesia drip running while staff went to deal with Angela. Delores slipped into a coma as well. Angela was transported to a hospital, where she remained in a coma until her death on June 11. I've since learned that Delores died on October 24 without ever regaining consciousness. I also learned later that Delores underwent the fatal abortion in spite of a negative pregnancy test.

A headshot of a young, smiling Black girl wearing a graduation cap
Dawn Ravenell

Next we move to 13-year-old Dawn Ravenell. A school counselor arranged for her to undergo an abortion behind her parents' backs on January 24, 1985. Her 15-year-old boyfriend had paid for the $450 with a credit card he'd borrowed from a relative. Dawn was not given enough anesthesia to keep her under for the entire procedure, so she began to vomit and choke. Dr. Alan Kline (John Roe 475) who was performing the abortion at National Abortion Federation member Eastern Women's Center, just put in a breathing tube then left Dawn unattended in a recovery room. Staff sent her to a hospital once they noticed that she had slipped into a coma. Only then did somebody notify her mother. Dawn died on February 11 without ever regaining consciousness. Venus Ortiz and Dawn Mack also underwent fatal abortions at Eastern. Venus actually spent more time comatose than Dawn had: six years.

Jacqueline Reynolds was the 22-year-old mother of a 4-year-old daughter when she underwent an abortion under general anesthesia on August 27, 1986. She turned blue from lack of oxygen due to a breathing tube that had not been inserted properly. She lapsed into coma from which she never recovered. She was pronounced dead on September 5. (NEED ORIGINAL SOURCES: Cobb County Georgia Superior Court Case No. 88A16621-2, Cobb County Georgia State Court Case No. 89A 004263-3)

News clipping headshot of a smiling young Black woman
Belinda Byrd

Belinda Byrd was the sixth woman to die from an abortion botched at Inglewood Women's Hospital in Los Angeles. She was the 69th of 74 women that Dr. Stephen Pine (John Roe 649) rushed through Inglewood's single procedure room on January 24, 1987. Fully 24 of those abortions were performed in the final two hours of the day at the 28-bed hospital. Pine finished Belinda's abortion in roughly nine minutes, ending at about 4:00 p.m. She was only kept in the recovery room for about seven minutes before she was taken to the hospital's west wing. Belinda complained that she was weak and her legs were numb at about 5:00 pm. She collapsed in the bathroom a short time later and had to be helped back to her bed. At around 6:00 p.m. Pine left the hospital. At around 7:00 p.m. Belinda again reported that she felt weak and her legs were numb. About ten minutes later a nurse tried to take Belinda's vital signs but could find no pulse. Staff at Inglewood attempted resuscitation themselves for two hours before finally calling an ambulance to transfer Belinda to Centinela Medical Center, a hospital with appropriate emergency services. Belinda arrived at Centinela apparently brain-dead atop bloody sheets. She remained comatose until she was taken off life support on January 27. Kathy Murphy (1973), Lynette Wallace (1975), Elizabeth Tsuji (1978) and Cora Lewis (1983) had already died from abortions at Inglewood.

October 10, 1989, 27-year-old Catherine Pierce died in a nursing home in Tennessee from abortion complications that had left her comatose since March 11. She left an 11-year-old daughter motherless. The abortion was performed at National Abortion Federation member Atlanta Surgi-Center (Acme Reproductive Services 34), which had at one time also done business as "Northside Women's Clinic," by Daniel McBrayer (John Roe 502). Catherine had gone into cardiac arrest while left unattended in recovery after her abortion. State officials alleged "serious problems" after Peirce was injured. They cited this National Abortion Federation facility for administering "the same anesthesia dosages" to patients whose weights ranges from 107 to 167 pounds, inadequate record keeping, and inadequate supervision of patients.

Glenda Davis, age 31, mother of two, underwent a safe and legal abortion performed by Robert Hanson at Aaron Family Planning March 11, 1989. During the abortion, Glenda suffered a 1.5 - 2 inch long wound to her uterine artery and vein complex, causing massive bleeding. After a delay, staffers decided to transfer Glenda to the hospital. Glenda's husband discovered staffers attempting unsuccessfully to transfer Glenda from a wheelchair to a staffer's car. He helped them get Glenda into the car. With the IV still in her arm, Glenda was driven to HCA Memorial Hospital. She had no blood pressure and almost no pulse upon arrival. Glenda fell into a coma, and died three days later.

Watch Lime 5: Coma on YouTube.

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