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Donna Heim

Donna Heim, age 20, went to Her Medical Clinic on August 12, 1986, accompanied by her sister. Donna told staff that she had asthma, and she noted this on her forms when she filled them out. Despite this pre-existing condition, a nurse anesthetist administered general anesthesia for her safe and legal abortion. Donna started to have difficulty breathing, but Mahlon Cannon continued with the procedure for five more minutes before helping the nurse anesthetist to try to restore Donna's breathing.

Donna's sister, who was in the waiting room, became alarmed at the intense staff activity she noticed, and questioned a staffer about her sister. She was reassured that Donna was fine. The sister saw an ambulance pull up to the building and stepped outside, where she observed her sister being transferred into the emergency vehicle. DonnaĆ¢s sister followed the ambulance to a nearby hospital, which summoned the comatose young woman's parents.

Donna died the next day without regaining consciousness. An investigation was sparked, and an administrative law judge ruled that Cannon was negligent in continuing with the abortion despite the patient's respiratory distress. The judge also found that Cannon often failed to do medical exams, take medical histories, or administer standard tests prior to abortions./we

Liliana Cortez also died after an abortion at Her Medical Clinic that year.


Sources: Los Angeles Times 6/17/91, Los Angeles Herald Examiner 2/22/88, and The Wanderer, July 1991

Abortion Deaths

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