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RealChoice
Brenda Vise, RU-486 Death
Dies after abortion at illegally operating Tennessee abortion mill
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Brenda Vise, a 38-year-old pharmaceutical representative, died on September 12, 2002, of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy after what she believed would be a perfectly safe, legal abortion at Volunteer Women's Clinic in Tennessee. Her survivors filed suit against the facility, as well as Dr. Edgar Perry and Dr. Richard Manning.

The lawsuit filed by Brenda's survivors notes that "Volunteer Medical Clinic, Inc. ("VMC") was administratively dissolved by the Tennessee Secretary of State because of its failure to comply with applicable law. VMC has been administratively dissolved by the Tennessee Secretary of State since September 17, 1999."

Dispite having been shut down by the state, VMC continued to do business and to advertise in the yellow pages for abortions, including chemical abortions.

Brenda took a home pregnancy test on September 5, and it was positive. The suit implies that she found VMC in the yellow pages, and made an appointment for Friday, September 7. VMC staff did a pregnancy test and did an ultrasound.

"Ms. Vise was advised that the ultrasound showed no fetus in the uterus. Clinic personnel explained that this was because the fetus was 'too small to be seen.' It was estimated that Ms. Vise was approximately six weeks pregnant. By such point in her pregnancy, a fetus in the uterus would have been easily seen with a proper ultrasound examination."

The lack of a visible fetus in the uterus should have clued the facility in to the fact that Brenda had an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency and is a contraindication to the administration of Mifeprex.

VMC gave Brenda a dose of Mifeprex. "Ms. Vise was advised by the Clinic that side effects of Mifeprex were mild and short-lived."

Brenda was then sent home from the facility with a dose Cytotec that she was to self-administer to complete her abortion. She did not have a follow-up appointment scheduled for the recommended 2-3 days after the administration of Mifeprex.

The suit also mentions that "The Federal Government has never approved Cytotec for use in pregnant women and specifically has not approved it in pregnant women for the purpose of inducing an abortion, and in fact has warned against such use". It also noted, "In August, 2000, the manufacturer of Cytotec specifically issued a letter to healthcare providers that Cytotec was contraindicated in women who are pregnant and that Cytotec was not approved for the induction of labor or abortion, and in fact should not be used in an abortion. Ms. Vise was never advised of these facts."

"Ms. Vise was never advised of who [her qualified physicians] were and, in fact, Ms. Vise was specifically advised that she would have to return to Knoxville rather than consulting a local physician or hospital in the event of any complication."

Brenda called VMC to report problems upon returning home. In that first call, and in Brenda's repeated calls to VMC, she was assured that her symptoms were "normal and routine."

Brenda took the Cytotec as instructed roughly 48 hours after her initial dose of Mifeprex. She continued to experience pain and nausea, and called VMC. She was told to take some medications for her symptoms. VMC was told that Brenda had a sub-normal body temperature, that she was pale, and that she had significant pelvic pain. "Instead of advising Ms. Vise to immediately proceed to a doctor, the Clinic continually assured her that all of these were normal symptoms and that she was not to be concerned."

Brenda called VMC again on Monday, September 10, indicating her deteriorating condition. She was told that her symptoms were "to be expected," and was told to travel to VMC, in Knoxville, for a check-up at 3:30 p.m. "She was specifically directed not to go to a hospital in Chattanooga because, according to the Clinic, no hospital in Chattanooga would have knowledge about the drugs that had been administered."

Brenda's boyfriend tried to take her to Knoxville, "but was unable to do so" and called an ambulance, which rushed Brenda to a Chattanooga hospital.

"Ms. Vise was immediately admitted to the hospital in very critical condition. Exploratory surgery revealed that Ms. Vise had had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy which had ruptured. Such rupture led to massive infection and a collapse of her vital systems."

"On September 12, 2001, the attending physician certified that Ms. Vise was terminal with no reasonable medical prospect of recovery and was in a coma and totally unresponsive. Ms. Vise died later that day."

Even though, in theory, women who choose abortion should be less likely to die of ectopic pregnancy complications, experiences shows that they're actually more likely to die, due to sloppy practices by abortion practitioners.

For an extensive set of links on RU-486, go to: The RU-486 Files.