On August 13, 1986, abortionist Mahlon Douglas Cannon botched an abortion and killed Covina preschool teacher Donna Heim, 20, at the HER Medical Clinic. Heim was asthmatic and began to suffer extreme respiratory distress during Cannon’s abortion procedure. Instead of treating this breathing problem, Cannon chose to ignore it and complete the abortion.
In June 1991, the California Medical Board adopted the decision of administrative law judge Richard J. Lopez that Cannon had been incompetent and negligent in treating at least eight abortion patients, including Heim. Cannon continued to perform abortions at the Family Planning Associates abortion mill on South Westmoreland Avenue in Los Angeles until he surrendered his medical license on July 10, 1991.
Judge Lopez found that Cannon routinely did not perform required physical exams on his abortion patients, take medical histories or administer standard tests. In one case, the abortionist aborted one woman and sent her home despite severe bleeding. She later rushed to a hospital emergency room in severe distress. When the hospital called Cannon, he said that she should be sent home and come in for an office visit in a week or two. Fortunately, the hospital disregarded the abortionist’s advice and performed emergency surgery, which revealed a perforated uterus and severe hemorrhage that required an emergency hysterectomy.
References: Betsy Bates. “For Three Women, a Safe Medical Procedure Turned Deadly.” Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, February 22, 1988, page A7; Claire Spiegel. “Physician in Abortion Case Loses License.” Los Angeles Times, June 17, 1991, page B1.
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