Investigative

Woman dies after abortionist botches D&E to remove miscarried baby

planned parenthood abortion clinic

A notorious late-term abortionist killed a woman after botching a dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion, according to court documents. The family of Rebecca Carey Charland filed a medical malpractice/wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Cesare Santangelo after she died at his hands in 2010.

Charland had antiphospholipid syndrome, a blood disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks proteins in the person’s blood. It can cause blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, miscarriage, and stillbirth. Charland got pregnant, and wanted her baby, but unfortunately, she suffered a miscarriage in the second trimester. When she had her 20-week ultrasound, it was confirmed that her baby had died several weeks earlier, something that must have been devastating for Charland to hear. Her doctor then referred her to Santangelo for a dilation and evacuation, or D&E, to remove the body of her preborn baby.

A D&E is a common abortion procedure, even though in Charland’s case, that wasn’t the intent. Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist, explains the procedure here:

Charland’s family claims that Santangelo never told her that, because of her condition, she was at a higher risk of hemorrhaging and of developing disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), which can be fatal. She was also told that she could have gone to the hospital to have the D&E performed, which would have been a safer setting. But Santangelo does not have admitting privileges, and if he had referred her to a doctor that did have admitting privileges, he would have lost the money he would have received from Charland.

After committing the procedure, Charland’s oxygen levels began to drop, and she turned blue, and her pulse and blood pressure began to drop. But it still took 13 minutes for the staffers to call an ambulance, and another five minutes for the ambulance to arrive. Santangelo never attempted any kind of emergency resuscitation during that time. When Charland finally got to the hospital, it was determined that she had, indeed, suffered uterine bleeding, which then led to DIC, which in turn led to more uterine bleeding and organ failure. She was declared dead on May 29, 2010, leaving behind a husband and two children.

READ: Woman dies during late-term abortion, but autopsy lays blame on pregnancy complications

An autopsy was performed, and it was discovered that Santangelo massively botched the procedure. Skin cells, lanugo (fine hair that covers a baby in the womb), and fat – what the coroner called “fetal debris” — was found in Charland’s lungs, meaning that Santangelo perforated or lacerated her uterus, allowing pieces of her preborn baby to enter her bloodstream and travel to her lungs.

The lawsuit accused Santangelo of ignoring Charland’s medical condition, ignoring the blood-thinning medication she was taking that contraindicated an outpatient D&E procedure, failure to provide proper informed consent of her risks, failure to respond to Charland’s symptoms and complaints, failure to conduct proper medical procedures, failure to refer her to a physician who could conduct the procedure in a hospital setting, and negligently failing to apply proper resuscitation procedures or call 911 in a timely manner.

“We don’t understand why this obstetrician referred his patient to Santangelo,” Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said. “She should have been referred to a specialist at a hospital due to her complicated medical history. Women that have suffered the death of a baby in the womb obviously require some kind of procedure to remove the deceased child, and we have the utmost compassion for anyone who has to endure that tragic situation. But the procedures should be done in hospitals under the supervision of legitimate physicians, and not done by quack abortionists at ill-equipped outpatient clinics. In this case, the mother’s death at Santangelo’s abortion clinic was avoidable and needless.”

Several complaints have been filed in the past against Santangelo by at least two hospitals, including George Washington University Hospital and Spotsylvania Medical Center in Virginia. Santangelo was also featured in Live Action’s Inhuman investigation, where he admitted that he would refuse to give medical care to a baby born alive after abortion.

This, of course, violates the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. Between admitting that he is willing to break the law, and multiple botched procedures — at least one resulting in the death of a patient — it’s hard to figure out why Santangelo is still allowed to practice. Why are authorities allowing abortionists like him to butcher and maim women?

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