Woman Sues Planned Parenthood After Botched Abortion Requires Hysterectomy

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 22, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Woman Sues Planned Parenthood After Botched Abortion Requires Hysterectomy

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 22, 2004

Billings, MT (LifeNews.com) — A woman who required a hysterectomy following a botched abortion is suing a Montana Planned Parenthood and the abortion practitioner she never met who perforated her uterus.

Lorraine Thul went to Intermountain Planned Parenthood in Billings, Montana in May 2002 for an abortion supposedly needed because of complications associated with her pregnancy.

Thul says she never spoke with abortion practitioner David Healow before the abortion procedure started and he never inquired about the complications or similar ones Thul had in a prior pregnancy.

Thul’s attorney John Doubek told LifeNews.com that she is quite upset about the abortion and felt pressured to have it. If she had it to do all over again, she wouldn’t have had the abortion, Doubek said.

During the abortion, Thul says a nurse told Healow he was being "overzealous." After it was complete, Thul was released from the abortion business and went to a local hotel where she was staying. She was told to return two days later for a follow-up, according to the lawsuit.

But Thul says she was in intense pain following the abortion and by that evening and, according to the suit, had "tremendous cramping and bloating." The plain and bleeding were so severe she called Planned Parenthood for help.

Late that evening, a staff member at the abortion business performed an ultrasound on Thul and then notified Healow.

"They nicked her uterus and sent her home bleeding and then scratched their heads when she returned," Doubek said.

Healow informed Thul that the abortion perforated her uterus and that he did not tell her about it because he thought the tear was superficial.

Fifteen minutes later, Healow called a local hospital’s emergency room. At Deaconess Billings Clinic, Thul underwent emergency surgery to repair the damage the abortion caused.

Doubek says doctors at the hospital had to makes ure the bleeding was stopped and allow the uterus to heal for a time to determine if it could be saved.

However, Thul required subsequent surgery, where doctors performed a hysterectomy because the uterus was not healing properly.

A media representative of Deaconess Billings Clinic couldn’t provide further details on Thul’s operations citing patient confidentiality.

According to the lawsuit, Thul says Healow failed to follow proper medical protocol by failing to inform her of the risks associated with the abortion procedure. Thul also says Healow should have told her that he is an anesthesiologist and not a surgeon.

"In any surgery there has to be informed consent — here is what we’re going to do and here are the complications associated with the procedure — so their consent is a fully informed one," Doubek explained. "The surgeon should let her know who he is and what he is about."

In the mid 1990s, the Montana legislature put an informed consent law for abortion on the books, but it was struck down by the Montana Supreme Court. The high court said the law was unconstitutional because it violated a privacy provision in the state constitution.

Doubek told LifeNews.com that Thul never would have had the abortion had she known Healow was not a qualified surgeon. He said someone who doesn’t have proper experience and training shouldn’t be performing abortions.

Any abortion practitioner "ought to be familiar enough with the anatomy to not cut the uterus."

Stacy James, CEO of Intermountain Planned Parenthood, told LifeNews.com that the abortion business had been served with the lawsuit but that she would not comment because it is a "pending legal matter."

Thul is seeking damages for pain and suffering, $50,000 to cover current medical expenses and money to cover future medical bills.