Medical Examiner Hides Cause of Death After Young Woman Dies From Botched 6-Month Abortion

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 28, 2018   |   6:05PM   |   Albuquerque, NM

A New Mexico medical authority may have concealed the cause of a woman’s death after a late-term abortion in 2017, according to a series of emails obtained by the New Mexico Alliance for Life.

The case involves the late Keisha Marie Atkins, 23, who died on Feb. 4, 2017, after having her late-term unborn baby aborted at Southwestern Women’s Options, in Albuquerque. She was about six months pregnant.

The autopsy report from the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator determined that the cause of death was “natural,” stemming from a “pulmonary thromboembolism due to pregnancy.”

But Albuquerque attorney Michael Seibel, who represents Atkins’ estate, said he suspects a “potential civil conspiracy.”

“My client and her family were denied their rights to justice and due process in this matter, while the Office of the Medical Investigator has attempted to shield [late-term abortionist] Curtis Boyd from medical liability, as well as deterring an investigation into the source of infection,” Seibel said.

He recently subpoenaed emails between University of New Mexico doctors, who treated Atkins right before she died, and the medical investigator who wrote her autopsy.

The emails reveal that the physicians who treated Atkins expressed concerns about the autopsy after they diagnosed her with a septic infection relating to the abortion, according to the New Mexico Alliance for Life.

“This sends a chilling effect across the entire medical community since we can no longer trust the Medical Investigator’s office to operate in an unbiased and ethical manner,” said Elisa Martinez, spokesperson for the Atkins estate. “To put honest doctors’ careers at risk in order to protect Curtis Boyd’s business interests is simply unconscionable and gives the appearance of civil conspiracy.”

Notably, the late-term abortionist has a close relationship with the university, where the medical investigator’s office is located. Boyd provides aborted baby body parts to university researchers and used to train UNM medical students at his late-term abortion facility.

A university spokesperson previously said they do not pay Boyd for the aborted babies’ body parts. The abortion facility also did not receive money to train the medical students, leading some to question whether the students’ work was exchanged for the aborted babies’ body parts.

Martinez said she wonders how many more botched abortions may have been covered up by the Office of the Medical Investigator.

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This is what the emails revealed, according to the group:

The autopsy was conducted by Medical Investigator, Lauren E. Dvorscak, MD, who is also an Assistant Professor of Pathology at UNM School of Medicine.

In one of the emails obtained by Seibel, UNM Hospital Emergency Medicine physician, Dr. Trenton Wray wrote, “I have to admit, I was floored by the cause of death being a massive PE [pulmonary embolism].” “Everything about her course was consistent with septic abortion→ refractory septic cardiomyopathy [heart failure due to infection] → death.”

The UNM Hospital radiologist, Dr. Gary Hatch, who performed a CT scan of Atkins’ lung and heart stated, “Second review reveals no segmental or larger emboli. There just simply isn’t PE [pulmonary embolism].”

Despite declaring the cause of death “natural” due to pregnancy, Dvorscak admits in another email that Atkins was infected from the abortion.

When questioned by UNM Hospital doctors Wray and Hatch, Dvorscak states that she does not know whether the source of the embolism is from the septic abortion, despite her autopsy attributing the cause of death as an embolism, solely to the pregnancy, “However, there is no way for me to know if she embolized from a deep vein, completely separate from her sepsis. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will know.”

Another email from UNMH radiologist Dr. Gary Hatch states, “The autopsy diagnosis doesn’t make sense to me. Who did the autopsy?” Following up in another email, Hatch states, “There was no massive PE present at the time of scan. Period…I am also confident there was no segmental or greater PE…”

“The OMI office really had to go out of their way to come up with such a biased and compromised autopsy report, one that wholly overlooks the diagnosis of every single doctor at UNMH who treated Keisha Atkins for a septic abortion infection and symptoms from the infection,” Seibel said.

Operation Rescue and Abortion Free New Mexico, which have been following the case as well, also suspected a cover-up. Earlier this year, the groups obtained Adkin’s autopsy report along with a CAD printout of a 911 call from the abortion facility on the date of Adkin’s death. The groups said both documents raised serious questions about the mishandling of Adkin’s medical emergency, and raised their suspicions of an attempted cover-up.

“UNM and Boyd’s abortion business carry a lot of political power in New Mexico. It’s possible that cover up of Atkins’ true cause of death was politically initiated to keep the heat off Boyd who was already the target of a Federal investigation,” Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said in March.