A to Z

A to Zmills

We can start with Jam­mie Gar­cia.

When the doc­u­ments for Lime 5 were pour­ing in, I was an abstract­ing machine. I had a three to four foot stack of doc­u­ments in my office on any giv­en day that I had to plow through, skim, high­light, read, sum­ma­rize. I learned to be very detached and clin­i­cal, to just get the words and ideas and not let it get to me. But Jam­mie Gar­cia got to me.

The first doc­u­ment I reviewed was a March 1994 report on an inspec­tion done in response to a patient death in a clin­ic owned by Dr. Moshe Hachamovitch. The report said that the staff were inad­e­quate­ly trained in how to prop­er­ly ster­il­ize instru­ments. The admin­is­tra­tor, Kris­ten Hing Fehr, was evi­dent­ly aware of the fact that the auto­clave used to ster­il­ize instru­ments was not func­tion­ing prop­er­ly. As for the instru­ments them­selves, “two loop for­ceps, two tenac­u­lums and one curette were found to have small par­ti­cles of dried brown­ish-dark red mate­r­i­al on them. Three specu­lums were found to have small par­ti­cles of dried clear mate­r­i­al on them.” “The only ster­il­ized abor­tion tray in the pro­ce­dure room was found to con­tain a curette with a loop whose edge was vis­i­bly jagged instead of smooth.” (Source: Travis Coun­ty Dis­trict Court Cause No. 94–07517)

HachamovitchHeadShot.pngUntrained staff? Dirty instru­ments? Indif­fer­ent admin­is­tra­tion? That’s not enough to even get my atten­tion. I’d read one report in which the inspec­tors asked the staff to demon­strate that the emer­gency gen­er­a­tor was func­tion­ing prop­er­ly. The gen­er­a­tor caught fire. I’d seen reports of dogs in clin­ics, bloody bare mat­tress­es, drunk­en abor­tion­ists falling on the floor. So Moshe Hachamovitch’s lit­tle abor­tion mill did­n’t stand out for its flaws.

Then there was the case of the patient whose death had brought on the inspec­tion. She was iden­ti­fied as 15-year-old “J.G.” That was a bad one. It was always hard to read details on a death, but dead kids get to me. I have a daugh­ter myself.

“J.G.” had her abor­tion per­formed by John Cole­man at Hachamovitch’s A to Z abor­tion facil­i­ty on Feb­ru­ary 18, 1994. Four days lat­er, on Feb­ru­ary 23, she was admit­ted to the Inten­sive Care Unit of a Hous­ton hos­pi­tal, with spik­ing fever, chills, nau­sea, pain, res­pi­ra­to­ry dis­tress, a dis­tend­ed abdomen, low blood oxy­gen lev­els, and foul-smelling dis­charge. An exam­i­na­tion revealed inflam­ma­tion and a tear in her

This was all trag­ic, very sad, but again, typ­i­cal for what I’d see in an abor­tion death. I duti­ful­ly wrote up the case while Mona tried to get more information.

She got a copy of the autop­sy report.

When I hear about how we need legal abor­tion to pre­vent those hor­ri­ble back-alley abor­tions, I can see Mona and me sit­ting and read­ing that autop­sy report. Mona came across the hall with Jam­mie’s autop­sy report in one hand, and anoth­er autop­sy report in anoth­er. She want­ed me to real­ly grasp how swollen and bog­gy Jam­mie’s organs were. Jam­mie’s liv­er and lungs weighed twice what they should have weighed.
Then Mona and I sat down togeth­er and read the rest of the autop­sy report. By the time we were done, we were both cry­ing, telling each oth­er, “She was uncon­scious by then. She had to have been uncon­scious.“
Please, God, let her have been unconscious.

Jam­mie’s body was wracked with abscess­es, spread­ing infec­tion that had entered her body through the dam­age the abor­tion had done to her uterus. Her brain was swollen. As near as Mona and I could fig­ure, Jam­mie’s fetid flu­ids had made their way up through her dam­aged bow­els and into her lungs.
Nobody’s lit­tle girl should have to die that way.