Legal Abortion Death: Sandra Lynn Chmiel, 35 (hemorrhage from a punctured uterus)

Pro-life researcher Keven Sherlock told the story of Sandra Lynn Chmiel, who died from a legal abortion:

“Sandra Lynn Chmiel, a 35-year-old suburban Chicago mother of four, bled to death from a punctured uterus June 3, 1975, hours after she underwent an abortion at Biogenetics.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, testimony at a coroner’s inquest indicated a Biogenetics doctor performed Sandra’s abortion even though she was more than 12 weeks pregnant. (At the time, it was illegal in Illinois for a doctor to perform an abortion on a woman more than 12 weeks pregnant unless he performed it in a hospital.)

Biogenetics operatives had the gall to claim the doctor merely tried to repair Sandra’s female organs after she tried to abort her child herself. However, the Sun-Times article said, Biogenetics settled the case for $75,000 in 1978.”

Source: Chicago Sun-Times 11/19/78

Kevin Sherlock The Scarlet Survey (Akron, Ohio, Brennyman Books, 1997)

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Legal Abortion Death: Liliana Cortez, 22

Researcher Kevin Sherlock documented the death of a 22-year-old woman:

“Liliana Cortez, a 22-year-old housekeeper from Guatemala, suffered a cardiac arrest while undergoing an abortion at Her Medical Clinic on September 20, 1986.

According to Liliana’s family’s attorney, subpoenaed records show Her staffers caused a 40-minute delay in the arrival of paramedics after Liliana went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics took Liliana, who was also an asthmatic, to a nearby hospital, where she died five days later.

A medical examiner in the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office determined the staffers at Her Medical Clinic caused Liliana’s death.”

Source: Los Angeles Herald Examiner 2/22/88

Kevin Sherlock The Scarlet Survey (Akron, Ohio, Brennyman Books, 1997) 42

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Legal Abortion Death: Christella Forte, 16 (amniotic fluid embolism)

Researcher Keven Sherlock found:

“Christella Forte, a 16-year-old black girl who was a student at Detroit’s Cooley High School, died January 14, 1986, a day after evidently undergoing a saline abortion at New Center Hospital in Detroit. The medical examiner who performed her autopsy determined she died of an amniotic fluid embolism.

Christella’s mother sued Raul Rivera for performing the abortion on her that led to her death. She said Christella suffered convulsions and had gone into cardiac arrest three times at New Center Hospital after Rivera injected her with saline solution.

She accused Rivera of failing to dilate Christella’s cervix properly before the saline abortion, failing to ensure no saline solution went outside of Christella’s amniotic sac, rushing the saline abortion, and making several major errors in the process which greatly increased Christella’s chances of suffering an amniotic fluid embolism.

All of these failures of Rivera’s, and the failures of other staffers at New Center Hospital, she charged, helped cause Christella to die.”

Sources: Wayne County Circuit Court Case No. 86 – 621838 and Christella’s Death Certificate

Kevin Sherlock The Scarlet Survey (Akron, Ohio, Brennyman Books, 1997) 52 – 53

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Legal Abortion Death: Cora Mae Lewis, 23 (Pneumonia due to aspiration while under anesthesia)

Researcher Keven Sherlock tells the story of Cora Mae Lewis, who died due to complications of a legal abortion:

“[Cora Mae Lewis, a] 23-year-old black woman died December 3, 1983, a month after she underwent an abortion at Inglewood Women’s Hospital. Complaining of fever, chills, and chest pains after the November 4, 1983 abortion, Cora went to a hospital November 11.

A staffer diagnosed her as suffering from pneumonia; she underwent surgery a couple of times. Cora last underwent lung surgery in the early morning of December 3, 1983; she died later that day. A doctor at the hospital pronounced her dead at 6:25 PM; he did not list the cause of death.

According to her autopsy report, Cora died of pneumonia and a lung abscess. The report listed cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix) and chronic endometritis (inflammation of the uterine lining – she was suffering from gonorrhea at the time of her abortion) as contributing causes of her death.

The examiner noted her cervix was damaged and her uterus was covered with yellowish discharge. The report said Cora underwent “a D&C under general anesthesia at Inglewood Women’s Hospital.”

Cora’s family, in a lawsuit against Inglewood Women’s Hospital, noted Morton Barke, Stephen Pine, and/or Bruce Schiffman performed the abortion on Cora. They accused the trio of handling Cora so negligently that she aspirated (inhaled her own vomit and/or mucus) and developed a lung infection as a result.

A doctor who reviewed Cora’s records said Cora, who was 15 weeks pregnant, was given general anesthesia for the abortion. He said staffers involved with Cora’s abortion failed to intubate her, which led her to aspirate, and the aspiration caused the lung infection that led to her death.

He also said Inglewood Women’s Hospital staffers were substandard for refusing to let her stay in their “recovery room” for more than seven minutes.

Cora’s family’s lawyer also testified he checked on the credentials of Yvonne Sias, the Inglewood Women’s Hospital staffer who gave Cora an anesthetic before the abortion.

He said Sias did not become a certified nurse anesthetist until nine months after she put Cora under. He accused people connected with Inglewood Women’s Hospital of deceit when they implied she was licensed at the time of Cora’s abortion.”

Los Angeles County coroner Case No. 83 – 15079 and Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. SWC73020

Kevin Sherlock The Scarlet Survey (Akron, Ohio, Brennyman Books, 1997)  104 – 105

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Legal Abortion Death: Maria Soto, 32 (cerebral hemorrhage due to brain aneurysm)

Researcher Kevin Sherlock documented this case of a woman who died after having a brain aneurysm at an abortion facility:

“Maria Soto, a 32-year-old married Hispanic woman, was set to undergo an abortion at Her Medical Clinic on September 9, 1985, when the events that cost her life took place.

A staffer prepared Maria for the abortion, gave her a mixture of lidocaine (an anesthetic), epinephrine (adrenaline), atropine (a pre-anesthetic) and Librium (a tranquilizer) as a paracervical block, and then left her unattended. Maria suffered a seizure, fell off the table she was lying on, hyperventilated, then slipped into a coma.

Maria was transferred to a California hospital, where she died that night…

The autopsy report said a cerebral hemorrhage caused by a brain aneurysm killed Maria. The examiner ruled that the fall Maria took while unattended played no part in her death, because he couldn’t find any evidence of blunt force trauma. He also downplayed the effects that the preabortion drugs Maria received might have played in her death…

Maria might have been unlucky. But the fact that she was left unattended and was allowed to fall from a table after receiving the kinds of drugs she did doesn’t speak well of the care she received at Her.”

Source: Los Angeles County Coroner Case No. 85 – 11579

Maria’s situation is different from other women in this category because her death was not officially caused by her abortion. Still, she seems to have received poor care at the abortion facility. It is unknown whether she would’ve survived her brain hemorrhage if it had occurred somewhere else – her death may or may not have been preventable.

Kevin Sherlock The Scarlet Survey (Akron, Ohio, Brennyman Books, 1997) 42

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Legal Abortion Death: Ellen Williams, 38 (Infection due to Punctured Uterus and Bowel)

Kevin Sherlock writes about Ellen Williams:

“This 38-year-old public school administrator died March 6, 1985, four days after undergoing an abortion at Dadeland Family Planning Center in Miami. Her husband sued abortion providers Nabil Ghali and Chatoor Singh for his wife’s death.

According to court paperwork on the case, Singh performed an abortion on Ellen March 2, 1985. Complaining of high fever and cramps, Ellen returned to the facility March 4. Ghali and Singh performed a second abortion on the woman and sent her home. She worsened, and had to be taken by ambulance to a hospital March 5. She died in the hospital the next day. A Dade County medical examiner performed an autopsy on her and found she died of peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal and pelvic cavity lining membrane) because her uterus and bowel were punctured during the abortions.”

Sources: Dade County Circuit Court in Miami, Court Case No. 85 –14112 and Tropic Magazine of the Miami Herald

Kevin Sherlock The Scarlet Survey (Akron, Ohio, Brennyman Books, 1997) 18

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Legal Abortion Death: Diane Boyd, 19 (Fatal drug interaction)

Researcher Kevin Sherlock writes about the death of Diane Boyd:

“This 19-year-old [mentally handicapped] girl died October 23, 1981, after undergoing an abortion at Reproductive Health Services. Barbara Bates, Diane’s mother, sued Reproductive Health Services over her death. She charged abortion provider Robert Crist failed to check Diane’s medical records before performing the abortion on her. Diane’s mother said Diane suffered breathing depression during the abortion, which led to her death the next day…

Diane’s mother alleged Diane was beaten and raped in the state operated St. Louis Developmental Disability Treatment Center in July 1981, and that she became pregnant as a result of being raped. Diane’s mother signed the consent form for her to undergo an abortion, and the abortion was arranged to take place at Reproductive Health Services.

Diane’s mother charged Crist and Reproductive Health Services staffers didn’t check Diane’s medical records before they plied her with drugs and performed the abortion. Diane was taking the antipsychotic drug Thorazine, her mother said, and the abortion facility staffers gave her Valium and the narcotic painkiller Sublimaze. She also implied Crist performed a risky kind of abortion on Diane, saying the type of abortion he performed was contraindicated because Diane was already in her second trimester of pregnancy.

The St. Louis medical examiner determined Diane died because of her reaction to the Sublimaze dose given to her, according to published reports.

The Physician’s Desk Reference notes Thorazine in the presence of a large dose of a depressant like Sublimaze is dangerous. Likewise, it notes Sublimaze must be used carefully to avoid causing breathing depression…

St. Louis medical examiner Dr George Ganther…attributed Diane’s death to the tranquilizers staffers at Reproductive Health Services gave her. “This was a severely brain damaged individual, and she could not tolerate any respiratory depressant,” medical examiner Dr Mary Case was quoted as saying…

Mental hospital officials said Reproductive Health Services officials “made no request for a detailed medical history of Miss Boyd before she was transferred to the clinic for the operation”, a reporter wrote.…

Reporters implied Reproductive Health Services may not have had resuscitation equipment available to help Diane when she went into respiratory arrest. In one article, the reporter wrote that officials of the abortion facility “declined to disclose whether there was any resuscitation equipment available when the operation on Miss Boyd was performed.” In another article, another reporter said Reproductive Health Services officials still weren’t saying if they had any resuscitation equipment available when they were performing the abortion on Diane…

Barbara Bates sued the state of Missouri for allowing Diane to be beaten and raped. And in her suit against Crist and Reproductive Health Services, she accused them of not having heart monitoring equipment, general anesthetic equipment, or adequate resuscitation equipment on premises, as well as causing Diane to die by their negligence…

Judge James Corcoran dismissed the case against the state and its officials in May 1982.

Barbara Bates’ lawyer appealed Judge Corcoran’s ruling, but state appellate court judges upheld the ruling in December 1983. Eventually, Judge George Adolf dismissed the rest of the case without prejudice in September 1986…”

Sources: St. Louis City Circuit Court Case 812 – 11077; St. Louis Post – Dispatch 10/26/81, 10/27/81, 10/30/81, 11/4/81, 11/10/81, 11/14/81, and 1/21/82

Kevin Sherlock The Scarlet Survey (Akron, Ohio, Brennyman Books, 1997)
134 – 135

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Legal Abortion Death: Charisse of Denver, 20 (Infection)

Researcher Kevin Sherlock learned about the death of Charisse from Colorado. He writes:

“This 20-year-old single black woman died in a hospital in Arapahoe County July 28, 1989 after she underwent an abortion. Charisse, who worked as a restaurant counter person, died from a “severe infection” as a result of the “termination of pregnancy”, noted the doctor who determined the cause of her death.

The NCHS database showed two of the causes of Charisse’s death were legally induced abortion complicated by genital tract and pelvic infection and legally induced abortion without mention of complication (ICD – 9:635.0 and 635.9).”

Source: Colorado Department of Health

Kevin Sherlock The Scarlet Survey (Akron, Ohio, Brennyman Books, 1997) 227

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Legal Abortion Death: Michelle Thames, 18, fatal seizure brought on by abortion

Keven Sherlock describes the death from legal abortion of Michelle Thames:

“Michelle Thames, an 18-year-old U.S. Navy inductee to be, suffered a seizure while undergoing an abortion at Her Medical Clinic September 19, 1987. She died soon afterward. Michelle’s family attorney accused Her Medical Clinic staffers of taking inadequate medical data from Michelle, and of trying incompetently to resuscitate her.”

Source: Los Angeles Herald Examiner 2/22/88

Kevin Sherlock The Scarlet Survey (Akron, Ohio, Brennyman Books, 1997)

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Legal Abortion Death: Ingar Weber (Kidney failure)

From Christina Dunigan at RealChoice:

A suit filed by the survivors of Ingar Lee Whittington Weber alleged that she underwent an abortion by Richardson P. Glidden and/or Thomas Booker on January 20, 1990, at Delta Women’s Clinic in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Ingar’s family said that neither Glidden nor his staff at Delta diagnosed Ingar’s kidney problems or the deterioration of her physical condition before, during, or after the abortion. Ingar was hospitalized several days after her abortion for acute kidney failure. She died on January 26, 1990.

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