An Alabama abortion facility notorious for its history of injuring women is facing a lawsuit from a woman who suffered a botched abortion. West Alabama Women’s Center (WAWC) and one of its abortionists, Tamar Middleton, are accused of lying to their patient about their background and the complications of her late-term abortion procedure.
The woman in question, listed in the complaint under the pseudonym “Jane Stone,” went to WAWC after learning her preborn child was “predisposed” to have Down syndrome. In the complaint, Stone said she was reassured that hemorrhaging was the main complication of her abortion procedure but that it could be handled there at the facility. It was during this pre-abortion counseling that WAWC began misleading Stone.
“While discussing the risks, Jane Stone asked Nurse Newton whether any patients had ever died or suffered life-threatening complications from the procedure,” the complaint read. “In response, Nurse Newton explained that a patient had died following a procedure performed at the clinic, but that the patient’s death was the result of drug use and not related to the procedure or complications of the procedure.”
This was a lie; the woman, April Lowery, died of a perforated uterus, as the autopsy made clear. Lowery was made to leave the facility after her abortion, even though she was in obvious distress, and no one at WAWC called 911. Instead, Lowery was picked up by someone in a car, who took her to a hospital an hour away, where she died. She lost 51 ounces of blood through internal bleeding, and her preborn child was still in her uterus, meaning the abortion itself was never actually completed. Had Lowery received emergency medical care right away via an ambulance transport to the nearest hospital, she might have survived.
But Stone knew nothing about this background information. She received an ultrasound, and the nurse said she could tell her baby had Down syndrome due to the appearance of his eyes. A dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion was scheduled for December 28th, 2020. Middleton, Stone’s abortionist, never evaluated her.
Stone arrived on the 28th and was given Cytotec to begin cervical dilation. However, a D&E is usually a multi-day procedure, specifically to ensure the patient’s cervix is dilated enough. Thirty minutes later, staff administered Xanax, Phenergan, Naproxen, and Doxycycline. An hour after receiving Cytotec, Middleton began to forcibly dilate Stone’s cervix and then used a suction cannula to remove the preborn child from Stone’s uterus. This is extremely dangerous, and is not part of accepted practice for a D&E.
Afterward, Middleton complained that Stone was bleeding heavily, and with good reason: she had lacerated Stone’s cervix, perforated her uterus, and sheared multiple uterine blood vessels. Despite the severity of this emergency, Stone was carried into the recovery room and left on a recliner — for an hour.
“Jane Stone was not wearing any pants, could not walk on her own, was bleeding internally, and was complaining of severe pain,” the complaint said. Nurses checked on her periodically but ignored her ongoing bleeding and the fact that she passed out multiple times. Middleton never evaluated her after the abortion was completed. When Stone said she needed someone to call an ambulance to take her to the hospital, nurses derided her pain and fear, telling her she was “anxious” and needed to calm down. Eventually, though, Middleton and other WAWC staff realized Stone was in actual danger and called 911. Stone’s condition was made frighteningly clear in her lawsuit:
Jane Stone’s paramedic advised Nurse Kelly Brigham that Jane Stone was unresponsive; that they could not obtain a blood pressure; and that she had signs of heavy bleeding. Jane Stone presented to the emergency department (“ED”) at DCH at 4:08 PM.
On arrival, Dr. Christopher Mann noted she had complaints of significant abdominal/pelvic/uterine pain, heavy vaginal bleeding, “cool/clammy/pale” skin, a low blood pressure, and a decreased level of consciousness.
A STAT abdominal ultrasound ordered by Dr. Mann found that Jane Stone had an enlarged uterus and evidence of hemorrhaging in the right pelvic adnexa extending upwards into the right abdomen.
Stone was placed under anesthesia and was taken into surgery, where doctors were forced to remove her uterus in order to save her life. The only difference between Stone and Lowery is that an ambulance was called. Otherwise, Stone also could have died.
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