A lawsuit has been filed against Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties for the death of a woman who died of toxic shock syndrome after a clinic worker found – but did not treat – a serious infection.
The medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit has been brought by Aletheia Meloncon, whose 21-year-old daughter, Edrica Goode, died on Valentine’s Day of this year. The Riverside County coroner, in fact, concluded that Goode died of “toxic shock syndrome secondary to retained laminaria cervical dilators.”
The case is being handled by Jack M. Schuler, the senior trial lawyer for the Schuler and Brown law firm. He is a trial specialist and has handled cases of personal injury, wrongful death, product liability and intellectual property disputes.
He said the situation goes beyond an ordinary malpractice or negligent death case, because it has happened before.
“Any health-care provider in California is required to make a report to [the state] about any unusual occurrences. This is the third death of a Planned Parenthood patient within the last few years they haven’t bothered to report. In fact, they were even cited by the California Department of Health for that failure, and agreed a few years ago to correct their manner of doing business.”
“I believe that takes it out of the area of negligence and into potential concealment,” he told WND.
The problem was the “seaweed stick cervical dilators” used by Planned Parenthood in preparation for an abortion. They are inserted into the vagina to dilate for the abortion procedure as well as to remove the unborn child.
During the initial exam, a “nurse practitioner, K. Sorenson,” found an “odiferous creamy-colored discharge” indicative of a bacterial infection, according to the lawsuit.
Despite the clear indications of bacterial infection, the nurse practitioner inserted the dilators. “Thus, the seaweed stick cervical dilators became like wicks that would [turn] the existing local infection … into a raging systemic infection rapidly leading to sepsis and toxic shock syndrome,” the court filing said.
Goode then was sent home with instructions to return the next day for the actual abortion. However, the next day, she was so ill from the infection she was “physically and mentally’ unable to return.
“By Feb. 4 … Edrica was so ill that she could not stand and was mentally confused. During this entire time, Planned Parenthood had knowledge that women with retained seaweed stick cervical dilators were at risk for developing systemic infection… Further, Planned Parenthood knew or should have know that patients with retained seaweed stick cervical dilators who had bacterial vaginosis at the time the seaweed stick cervical dilators were placed were at much greater risk,” the lawsuit said.
“Notwithstanding this, Planned Parenthood made woefully inadequate efforts to contact Edrica Goode, determine her status, advise her that her illness was directly related to infection resulting from retained seaweed stick cervical dilators rather than the flu, and that she required immediate medical treatment.”
She eventually was taken by ambulance to Riverside County General Hospital, where she had periods of unconsciousness, was confused and not able to speak appropriately. Four days later, without finding a cause, the hospital announced her discharge.
When her mother objected, “Riverside General Hospital physicians then indicated that they would transfer her to a psychiatry unit,” the lawsuit said.
There, a psychiatrist ordered her back to the hospital to rule out infections and sepsis, and several days later, the dilators were found and removed.
However, the infection “had become so profound that ultimately Edrica died on Feb. 14, 2007.”
The action alleges the defendants “carelessly and negligently … failed to provide medical services, and negligently cared for and treated and failed to care for and treat plaintiff’s decedent, and so carelessly and negligently failed to conform to the standards of practice in their community so as to cause the death of Edrica Goode.”
The claim also noted that the victim and her mother were not given the information they needed to make informed decisions.
Planned Parenthood did not return a WND call requesting a comment.
Jim Sedlak, a spokesman for the STOPP project of the American Life League noted that it’s not the first time Planned Parenthood has been accused of mistreating patients.
“Planned Parenthood, although it proclaims itself as a trusted health-care organization, has been involved in a number of lawsuits involving malpractice. It has been involved in the deaths of patients, the most recent of which was Holly Patterson, in California, who died after getting a medical abortion,” Sedlak told WND. He said in that case, a contributing factor was that Planned Parenthood deviated from the FDA-approved regimen.
He noted that Planned Parenthood clinics in both Los Angeles and New York have been ordered closed at times because of regulators’ concerns over their health-care delivery.
The Texas-based pro-life group Life Dynamics also conducted an extensive undercover project in which an adult volunteer posing as a 13-year-old called every Planned Parenthood clinic in the U.S., saying she was pregnant by a 22-year-old boyfriend. Almost without exception, the clinics advised her to obtain an abortion without her parents’ knowledge and told her how to protect her boyfriend, who would be guilty in any state of statutory rape.
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