Tuesday, June 11, 2024

June 11, 1999: The Utmost in Safe, Lethal Abortion Care


Maria Leho was in the first trimester of pregnancy when she entrusted herself to the staff at Albany Medical Surgical Center of Chicago -- a member of the Family Planning Associates Medical Group chain of abortion facilities and thus a member of the prestigious National Abortion Federation (NAF). NAF purports to ensure that all of its member facilities adhere to the very highest standards of care. 

On June 9, 1999, John Weitzner, MD performed a suction abortion on Maria, while Lawrence Hill, CRNA, administered Brevitol for anesthesia. This drug is inappropriate for a patient who had seizure disorder, as Maria had indicated on her medical history. Maria was under anesthesia for a total of four minutes, from 12:40 to 12:44 p.m. Hill then transferred Maria to the recovery room without first verifying that her condition was stable. When she was transferred, the pulse oximeter, which monitors pulse and blood oxygen levels, was removed.

Albany Medical Surgical Center
Once in the recovery room, the still-sedated and unconscious Maria was attended by Tanya Hall, RN, while Hill went to administer anesthesia to another patient. Hall put a blood pressure cuff on Maria's arm, and another pulse oximeter on her finger, but this one hadn't been tested. She then left the recovery room. 

Maria was now in the care of Yvette Johnson, RN. A nurse reviewing Maria's records noted that the nurses did not perform a proper assessment of Maria when she was turned over to their care. They did not take a pulse or check to see if she was even breathing.

Shortly thereafter, Johnson noticed that Maria wasn't breathing and had no pulse. She, Hill, and Hall attempted to resuscitate her with CPR, and ambu-bag, and a defibrillator. Nobody summoned Weitzner, who was performing an abortion on another patient. He came into the recovery room at about 12:50. Staff continued to try to revive Maria for another ten minutes before they finally got around to calling 911, rather than summoning EMS as soon as they realized that their patient was in a life-threatening emergency.

Maria was taken to Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's hospital, where she died on June 11. She left behind two sons, a 7-year-old and a toddler.

Edward Allred
Albany had already had one patient, Deanna Bell, die from anesthesia complications. Then-owner Edward Campbell Allred admitted that he failed to perform any preventability study to keep any other patients from suffering Deanna's fate.

Other women known to have died after abortions at Allred's facilities include: Denise HolmesPatricia ChaconMary PenaJosefina GarciaLanice DorseyJoyce OrtenzioTami SuematsuSusan LevyChristina MoraTa Tanisha WessonNakia JordenKimberly NeilMaria Rodriguez, and Chanelle Bryant.
Steve Lichtenberg, who oversees and performs abortions at the Chicago FPA facilities, continues to make presentations at their Risk Management Seminars although the Medical Director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America had scolded him at one NAF session for "playing Russian roulette with patients' lives" by treating life-threatening complications at his outpatient clinic rather than promptly transferring them to properly equipped hospitals. Yet they profess a loathing of risky abortion practices.

CRNA Lawrence Hill was also faulted for his fatal oversights in the abortion deaths of Antonesha Ross in 2009 and Nakia Jorden in 1998.

Watch "Deadly Delay" on YouTube.


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