Saturday, November 05, 2022

Lime 5: Reactions to Anesthesia and Other Drugs

Deaths I've covered already

"Janie" is Janet Blaum. She was 37 when she underwent an abortion by Sidney Knight (John Roe 501) in New Orleans on March 6, 1974. This mother of three died from an apparent overdose of drugs administered for the abortion. Knight had been facing criminal abortion charges when Roe vs. Wade was handed down and allowed him to practice openly. I've been unable to find any women's deaths attributed to him in his back-alley practice. (Orleans Parish Autopsy Protocol 74-3-89; Jefferson Parish Case No. 168-162)

Wilma Harris, age 17, was the first of two patients to die under the care of abortion-rights hero Dr. Milan Vuitch. Vuitch (John Roe 670) had performed Wilma's abortion under general anesthesia on June 19, 1974 and left her unattended for 12 hours before transferring her to a hospital where she died on June 20. Georgianna "Jeanie" English was 32 when she went to Vuitch for an abortion in 1980 and died of anesthesia complications. (Washington Times 4/19/84; Washington Post 4/29/86; Washington DC Court of Appeals Case No. 82-1077)

Carole Wingo died at age 22 of a Demerol overdose at Mercy General Hospital, which was not actually a general hospital but an abortion hospital. The state had tried to close Mercy for violations including lack of proper monitoring and resuscitation equipment, but Mercy had remained open on appeal.

Marina Deschapell, age 34, went to the Miami abortion facility at 620 SW 1st Street for a safe and legal six to eight week abortion on August 17, 1978. She reportedly chose abortion because she feared that her health problems had harmed the unborn baby. Dr. Eduardo F. Elias, age 69, administered Valium and Xylocaine for the abortion. He was being assisted by Anna West Barquet, age 53, wife of the clinic's owner, Luis Barquet. Mrs. Barquet had been arrested along with her future husband in the 1960s for helping him run a criminal abortion ring. Sixty to 90 seconds after the procedure, Elias noticed that Marina was not breathing. He initiated CPR, and Mrs. Barquet called Dr. Jose Suarez, the doctor who had referred Marina for the abortion. Somebody summoned and ambulance, and the crew attempted to resuscitate her, but she was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Marina had reacted to the anesthesia and the clinic lacked emergency equipment to resuscitate her. 

Twenty-seven-year-old Robin Wells, divorced mother of three, went for an abortion under general anesthesia by Max Pierre Gaujean (John Roe 308) at Akron Center for Reproductive Health on July 15, 1981. Robin went into cardiac arrest in the recovery room, and was transferred by ambulance to a hospital. She remained in a coma until her death on August 2, 1981. Both Gaujean and the anesthesiologist were independent contractors and did not maintain private practices.  The suit filed by Robin's survivors alleged that she was overdosed on anesthesia and not properly monitored. It also alleged that staff at Akron Center for Reproductive Health failed "to resuscitate her after her condition had been discovered." 

On July 2, 1982, Darlene Wood was put under anesthesia for a second trimester abortion at Temple University Hospital. The abortionist was Renga Rajan (John Roe 645); the anesthesiologist was William Stevenson-Smith. Darlene was given nitrous oxide by face mask. She started coughing after the procedure began. After the abortion was completed, she was admitted to the respiratory intensive care unit, where she was diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension. Over the next several days, Darlene experienced increasing respiratory distress. She was given medication to maintain her blood pressure. But on July 7, Darlene went into cardio-respiratory arrest. She was pronounced dead at 2:50 p.m. The administratrix of Darlene's estate contended that the lack of appropriate medical and anesthetic clearance was a substantial factor in her death. Rajan was also successfully sued for the 1987 abortion death of Iris Velazquez.

Seventeen-year-old Laniece Dorsey underwent an abortion at a Family Planning Associates Medical Group facility in Orange County, California, on February 6, 1986. Laniece lapsed into a coma, was transferred to a nearby hospital, and died later that day. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department medical examiner blamed the death on cardiorespiratory arrest due to the anesthesia. As Lime 5 notes, 13-year-old Deanna Bell met a similar fate at another FPA facility on September 5, 1992. 

Brenda Benton's survivors sued Chicago's notorious Biogenetics abortion mill (Acme Reproductive Services 14) after her death, claiming that Dusan Zivkovic and/or V. Perez had performed an abortion on her on March 13, 1987. She was placed under general anesthesia for the abortion. After she was discharged, Brenda developed fever, chills, and back pain. The suit says that 35-year-old Brenda returned to Biogenetics to report the se symptoms on March 27, and that Zivkovic examined Brenda and performed a D&C before transferring her to Martha Washington Hospital. There, Brenda's survivors say, Zivkovic called in other doctors for a consult. They then transferred Brenda to Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's hospital on April 6. She died there on April 20. Brenda's family said that Zivkovic failed to failed to determine that Brenda had had an adverse reaction to drugs he'd given her, and failed to detect and respond to her medical emergency. Brenda's death certificate attributed death to hepatic necrosis due to toxicity reaction to abortion anesthesia.

Patricia King

Twenty-four-year-old Patricia King went to Dean H. Diment (John Roe 333) 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. 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. 

Diane Watson was 27 years old, a mother of two, when she went to Hedd Surgi-Center in Chicago for a safe and legal abortion on August 29, 1987. Although Diane was over 12 weeks pregnant, Rudolph Moragne proceeded with the abortion, in violation of state regulations prohibiting outpatient abortions after 12 weeks. He ended up hitting a vein when injecting anesthetics. Diane had seizures and went into cardiac arrest. Moragne and the other physicians present -- Henry Pimentel, Ester Pimentel, and Calvin Williams -- failed to perform CPR. 

Stacy Ruckman
When 23-year-old Stacy Ruckman had just gotten a new job when she went to Scott Barrett for a safe and legal abortion on February 20, 1988. Unfortunately, she didn't know how he anesthetized his patients at his unlicensed clinic: Central Health Center for Women in Springfield, Missouri. Barrett began the 13-14 week abortion at around 5 p.m. During the abortion, Stacy stopped breathing, Barrett and his staff were unable to revive her.  They sent Stacy to the emergency room by ambulance, where she had a racing pulse and fixed, dilated pupils. She was unable to breathe on her own. The hospital transfused her with packed red blood cells and gave her additional IV fluids, but her EEG "revealed findings consistent with brain death" Stacy's parents, who hadn't even known she'd been pregnant, rushed to the hospital to find that they daughter they'd loved so well was gone. They agreed with the doctors to remove life support, and Stacy was pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m. She had died of a massive Lidocaine overdose. Barrett's staff testified that rather than hire a qualified person to provide anesthesia, he routinely gave patients massive dosed of Lidocaine in order to render them unconscious.

The survivors of 32-year-old Joyce Ortenzio filed suit against Edward Allred, his Family Planning Associates Medical Group (FPA), the San Vicente Hospital FPA facility, and abortionist Ruben Marmet. Joyce went to San Vicente for laminaria insertion by Marmet on June 7, 1988. Later, Marmet performed an abortion, but did not remove all of the fetal parts from Joyce's uterus. The next day, June 8, Joyce was found dead in her home. The cause of death was an overdose of the drug amitriptyline, infection from fetal parts that were not removed during the abortion, and septic shock.

Thirty-four-year-old Debra Gray went to Hillview Women's Medical Center for an abortion on July 12, 1989. An ultrasound was performed and she was estimated to be 16.5 weeks pregnant. The records don't indicate who initiated IV Brevitol for anesthesia, nor do they document the dosage or concentration, nor Debra's weight or the amount of fluid given. There was also no record of a physical exam or any exam to determine if Debra was an appropriate candidate for this type of anesthesia. The abortionist, Gideon Kioko, indicated that the nurse and other staff expected the drug to induce "twilight sleep" rather than general anesthesia. There was no anesthesiologist on duty, and no physician supervising the administration of anesthesia medication. Kioko initiated the abortion. There was no documentation of the effect of the medication, nor of Debra's vital signs.  
Susanne Logan
A hospital note indicated that Debra had "responded rather rapidly to the anesthesia" and that three minutes after Kioko had started the abortion, Debra's blood was noted to be "very dark" and she was having trouble breathing. Kioko spent five minutes completing the abortion. After fifteen minutes of CPR, Hillview staff finally called 911. When paramedics arrived, they estimated that Debra's brain had been deprived of oxygen for twelve minutes. She had a racing heart, then went into ventricular fibrillation. She was resuscitated, but never regained consciousness. She was pronounced dead on July 15. Later that year, and under similar circumstances, Kioko performed the abortion that led to the lingering death of Susanne Logan.

Case for which I need more information

"Joan" -- the only case that wasn't fatal as far as I know, yet -- was placed under general anesthesia for an abortion at Acme Reproductive Services 48 in Illinois. She was not monitored properly, so staff didn't promptly discover her inability to breathe or provide her with adequate oxygen. She suffered permanent brain damage as a result. (Du Page County Circuit Course Case No. 85L 0833/88-483)

Watch Reactions to Anesthesia on YouTube.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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