Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich had been a nurse for 28 years when she took a job at Planned Parenthood in Wilmington, Delaware — and she was horrified by the low standard of care she witnessed there, in which women were put at risk of complications and even death. Conditions in the facility were so bad that Jayne was afraid she might lose her nursing license if she stayed. She quit after only 23 days. Jayne told her story in an issue of The American Feminist, a publication of Feminists for Life.
Lack of functional crash cart on site
Jayne reveals that the facility’s crash cart, which is used to revive women in the event of cardiac arrest, had medicines that were “not just out of date but way out of date.” The oxygen mask on the cart was so old it was no longer pliable and was unusable. A woman could need the crash cart at any time due to a bad reaction to anesthesia or other complication such as heavy bleeding, which could lead to shock. This important life-saving equipment was poorly maintained and would have been useless in an emergency.
And there have been emergencies where women have died due to missing or poorly maintained crash carts. A woman named Angela died in an abortion facility after an abortionist perforated her uterus and left her hemorrhaging. When her heart stopped, a crash cart might have revived her, but there was no crash cart in the facility.
Abortionist Mi Yong Kim had a crash cart, but no one in her facility was trained to use it. This led to the death of a 26-year old woman who went into cardiac arrest due to an overdose of anesthesia. In this case, no resuscitation was attempted.
Lack of a crash cart may also have contributed to the death of Belinda Byrd, who was 19 weeks pregnant when she bled to death after her abortion. The abortion facility where Belinda Byrd died had been repeatedly cited for health code violations, including not having sufficient crash carts. Belinda’s mother, Mattie Byrd, wrote a heartbreaking letter to the Los Angeles district attorney:
I am the mother of Belinda A. Byrd, victim of abortionists at 426 E. 99th Street in Inglewood. I am also the grandmother of her three young children who are left behind and motherless. I cry every day when I think how horrible her death was. She was slashed by them and then she bled to death…. She has been stone dead for two years now, and nobody cares. I know that other young black women are now dead after abortion at that address — Cora Mae Lewis and Yvonne Tanner. Where is [the abortionist] now? Has he been stopped? Has anything happened to him because of what he did to my Belinda? Has he served jail time for any of these cruel deaths? People tell me nothing has happened, that nothing ever happens to white abortionists who leave young black women dead. I’m hurting real bad and want some justice for Belinda and all other women who go like sheep to slaughter.
The lack of a properly stocked crash cart can mean the difference between life and death for an injured woman in an emergency.
Lack of medical manuals on site
Another thing that shocked Jayne was that there were no reference manuals of any kind in the abortion facility. According to the article:
Jayne was shocked that the clinic had no medical manuals of procedures and guidelines. She had never worked in a medical facility before that did not have those reference manuals. Early on, she was asked to start an IV and “push Versed,” a sedative. She asked for the IV manual. She asked for the medical manual. None and none. She started the IV using the same procedure she used in the hospital. When she asked about guidance on Versed, she was told to “push it slow.”
“There is no slow,” Jayne said. A manual would say how much time to take to push a specific amount of the drug. A manual would say whether or not to dilute it to avoid burning a vein. A manual would have a list of contraindications. “This was very disturbing. Planned Parenthood should have its own IV manual.”
Without manuals giving instructions on how to administer certain drugs, the abortion workers would have to guess at how to give medicine correctly. Making a mistake could have dire consequences. A medical overdose could mean death for a woman, especially since life-saving medical equipment was not available.
Another facility that had no manuals was Kermit Gosnell’s Philadelphia facility, where two women died. In his facility, untrained workers administered medications without the guidance of any written guidelines. This appears to have also been the case at the Planned Parenthood facility where Jayne worked.
At the Pro-Life Women’s Conference in 2016, Jayne said she reported all of these violations to management but was ignored. Afraid that it was only a matter of time before a death or serious complication occurred, Jayne quit Planned Parenthood after only 23 days because she feared losing her nursing credentials by being affiliated with such an unsafe medical facility.
While Planned Parenthood actively campaigns against laws requiring abortion facilities to be inspected and regulated, Jayne’s testimony illustrates how important it is for these laws to be passed.
Source: Ellen J Reich “An Insider’s Look into the Abortion Industry” The American Feminist Fall/Winter 2016