Brooklyn Woman Dies from Legal Abortion, Police Engage in Cover Up
Source: New York Post 12/6/98
New York -- As a young woman lay dying in a Brooklyn abortion facility last Wednesday, her fiance - unaware of the tragedy - was in the waiting room getting a page that Tommy Boy Records had just signed him to a contract.
"I was waiting for her to get out so I could tell her the good news," Rudy Alston, a rapper who uses the stage name Floss, told The Post yesterday.
"But she never came out."
Tamika Dowdy, 22, of Crown Heights, was pronounced dead after having a legal abortion at Long Island College Hospital on Wednesday.
Cops went to the Brooklyn Women's Medical Pavilion on Court Street on Tuesday after receiving a call that a woman was having trouble breathing.
Paramedics arrived at 6 p.m. and began furiously performing CPR, but they bypassed the waiting room where Alston had been since noon -- a full six hours after Dowdy had arrived at the abortion facility.
A male abortion practitioner kept walking in and out of the waiting room, Alston said.
"He was sweating real fierce and pacing," Alston, 22, said. "He did that several times, and then finally he came up to me and said her heart had stopped."
Alston rode by Dowdy's side in the ambulance from the abortion facility to the hospital.
The two, who lived one floor apart in a St. Mark's Street building, had planned to be married in January or February. Dowdy was four months pregnant.
The couple didn't want a child because Dowdy wanted to go to a two-year accounting school so she could handle the finances of Floss and his three-man group, Council, Alston said.
Authorities have not released the name of the person who performed the abortion, but the abortion facility has been under scrutiny for a Nov. 14 incident in which a woman suffered a perforated uterus from a legal abortion, state Health Department spokeswoman Frances Tarlton said.
That woman checked out of a hospital after receiving treatment from the abortion complications, and authorities have been unable to locate her, Tarlton said.
The department is investigating Dowdy's death.
Darrel Dowdy, Tamika's 18-year-old brother, said, "I want that place closed down. I want that doctor arrested for murder."
Friends said Dowdy was a sweet, churchgoing young woman whose mother died of a heart attack one year ago yesterday.
"I lost my mother and now my sister," Darrel Dowdy said. "I am alone now."
No one from Tommy Boy Records could be reached to confirm the deal with Council.
But the young rapper said he had been dreaming of making his wedding party a celebration not only of the marriage, but also of the contract. "We had a lot of plans together," he said. Thanks to the abortion that killed his fiance, "Now I don't have any."
Abortion practitioners were still performing abortions at the Brooklyn Women's Health Pavilion yesterday.
A woman who answered the intercom outside the abortion facility's third-floor offices called security to throw out a Post reporter and photographer.
Police officials tried to squelch news of the tragic abortion death by omitting from their daily report that Dowdy died after an abortion, a police source said. They included only the address where the incident took place, not even mentioning an abortion was involved.
Arizona: News of woman's botched abortion death now surfacing
Source: July 14, 1998 Arizona Republic
She was left to bleed 3 hours after abortion, ex-staffers say
Phoenix -- Louann Herron lay bleeding from a punctured uterus for more than three hours as a medical assistant at the A-Z Women's Center begged her supervisor to call 911, three former employees of the controversial abortion facility say.
By the time the supervisor paged Herron's doctor to get permission to call paramedics, it was too late.
Herron died hours after an abortion performed by John Biskind, the same person who delivered a full-term baby at the abortion facility June 30 after misdiagnosing the fetal age by 13 weeks. Biskind and center officials on Monday refused to comment on the case, which has prompted a police investigation.
Herron's encounter with the abortion facility began in a similar fashion. But it became a saga of disappointment, deception and death, according to three former employees who told their stories to The Arizona Republic.
According to the former employees, Herron, 32, was in the process of being divorced when she visited the abortion facility April 7 with a friend for an abortion. An employee - fairly new to the clinic - performed an ultrasound examination indicating that Herron was 23 weeks and a few days pregnant.
Arizona law permits abortions until the unborn child is "viable" - 23 weeks according to most medical definitions. The A-Z Women's Center advertises in the Yellow Pages as the only abortion facility in Arizona that performs abortions on unborn children up to 24 weeks along.
According to information provided by Planned Parenthood, the risk of death associated with abortion stands at one per 6,000 at 21 weeks into the pregnancy.
Because Herron was so close to the 24-week limit and because the person who performed the ultrasound was inexperienced, the abortion facility administrator sent her to a sister abortion facility in Glendale to have a second ultrasound done by a more experienced employee. That employee told The Republic that Herron was 24 weeks and four days pregnant.
The employee added that Herron cried when she was told the abortion facility could not perform the abortion. Herron went back to Biskand's abortion facility on McDowell Road and met with the administrator. Nine days after Herron's first visit, the administrator told employees that she had a "personal patient" coming in. The patient turned out to be Herron, now about 26 weeks pregnant.
Victoria Kimball is a registered nurse who quit the abortion facility after Herron died. She told The Republic that during Herron's April 16 visit, she overheard Biskind tell a medical assistant to take an ultrasound from a different angle to make Herron appear to be less than 24 weeks pregnant.
Herron underwent a procedure to begin dilating her cervix, then went home. She returned the next day about noon; Biskind began the abortion a little after noon and finished at 12:40 p.m. When Herron went into the clinic's recovery room, there was no nurse present. The nurse on duty had left about 10 minutes earlier.
Several medical assistants were present, two of them new and untrained. About 2 p.m., the assistants started to worry because Herron was still bleeding. Biskind told the assistants to give Herron medication for the bleeding, then left the abortion facility, the former employee said.
Herron remained in the recovery room, bleeding, for another two hours. At about 3:50 p.m., the frantic medical assistants asked the administrator to call 911. The supervisor insisted on paging Biskind first, saying she didn't "want trouble," the former employee said.
"There had to have been four other girls (medical assistants) in there," she continued. "None of them wanted to do anything. They were all scared. Two of them were brand new to the [abortion facility]. . . . They didn't know what to do."
Biskind told the employees to call paramedics. "He made it very clear that he was not coming back," the ex-employee said. "When the ambulance got there, (the administrator) kept stressing to them that she didn't want them to put the sirens on because she didn't want to alarm anybody."
On the 911 tape, the caller, another medical assistant, first tells the Phoenix Fire Department dispatcher to keep the sirens off and to come to the back of the clinic. She then tells the dispatcher the nature of the emergency. The dispatcher repeatedly asks the caller whether the clinic has oxygen. The caller says she doesn't know.
When paramedics arrived, CPR was not being administered, said Division Chief Bob Khan, so paramedics began the procedure. Paramedics were concerned about the large amount of blood Herron had lost, Khan said.
Herron was pronounced dead across the street at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the cause of death was hemorrhaging from a punctured uterus as a result of the abortion.
"This girl didn't have to die," Kimball said.
Authorities began looking into the abortion facility after the June 30 case. In that incident, Biskind began the abortion, but wound up delivering a full-term baby girl. The child, who suffered a skull fracture and two deep lacerations, fortunately shows no signs of brain damage.
Eight years ago, Biskind was admonished by the state Board of Medical Examiners ago for trying to abort another full-term baby, records show.
Records also reveal that the A-Z abortion facility has been the subject of several lawsuits. The abortion facility's CEO, Dr. Moshe Hachamovitch, has been the target of at least seven complaints to the examiners board.
The board has said that it received a complaint about Herron's death and is investigating the matter. Police and prosecutors have not said whether they are looking into Herron's death.
A Personal Account....
I'm a crisis pregnancy counselor in Phoenix, AZ. I have a friend who is an R.N. and used to work the free Q & A line for Good Samaritan Hospital. One Tuesday evening she received a call from a young woman who had had an abortion the previous Saturday and now was experiencing a headache which began at about her hairline and proceeded back across the top of her head; she was also having burning pain in the back of one of her legs. She had called Womens A to Z here who did the abortion. They said nothing was wrong with her and that it couldn't possibly have any relation to the abortion so don't worry about it. My friend the nurse told her that she was having symptoms of meningiti and an embolism and she had better get herself to the emergency room immediately.
It is only by chance that I'm aware of this story. Who knows how common this is? I would say it was an everyday occurrence in the abortion industry.