ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico abortion facility that offers abortions throughout all three trimesters has been sued by the family of a woman who obtained a late-term abortion last year and died two days later from an infection and sepsis.
According to the legal challenge, Keisha Atkins, 23, had been referred by the University of New Mexico Hospital to Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO) for an abortion at 24 weeks gestation (6 months).
“[A]t the SWO clinic, clinic doctors, under the supervision of [abortionist] Curtis Boyd, inserted a syringe filled with dygoxin into Keisha Atkins’ stomach and injected a lethal dose into the baby causing the baby’s death,” it outlines. “Ms. Atkins was then released from SWO clinic with her deceased baby in utero and an instruction to return to the SWO Clinic.”
She was allegedly instructed not to contact any other facility or doctor outside of SWO.
Two days later, Atkins returned for the second part of the procedure, to have the dead baby removed from her body. However, she was running a fever, had difficulty breathing, and the labor process to dispel the infant had not begun.
Nearly 10 hours later, as Atkins’ condition did not improve, staff called for an ambulance. By this time, she also had tachycardia and she couldn’t keep her oxygen level up. She was suffering a septic abortion.
The lawsuit states that Atkins spent five hours waiting in the emergency room at University of New Mexico before being wheeled in for an operation. While undergoing a dilation and evacuation of the dead baby, Atkins went into cardiac arrest. Doctors were unable to bring her back.
Atkins’ family contends that doctors failed to inform the woman of the potential risks and complications that come with a late-term abortion, including “failure to inform Keisha Atkins of the risks and potential complications of carrying a dead fetus inside of her womb after being released from the SWO clinic” and “failure to inform Keisha Atkins of the risks and potential complications for infection and sepsis associated with SWO’s late term elective abortion procedure.”
“The negligence and failure of Defendants Landau, Carr, Boyd and SWO to diagnose and adequately treat Keisha Atkins for infection and sepsis, and the failure to inform Ms. Atkins of the risks and complications associated with the procedure(s) and the failure to provide a hospital and/or in a similarly equipped overnight facility capable of providing constant medical monitoring caused injuries, pain, suffering and ultimately Keisha Atkins’ wrongful death,” it asserts.
The family is also disturbed that an autopsy written by a UNM employee listed the cause of death as being “natural” and from a pulmonary embolism due to pregnancy.
They seek punitive and compensatory damages surrounding the matter.
“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,” remarked attorney Michael Seibel, who is representing the family.
“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 Curtis Boyd from medical liability, as well as deterring an investigation into the source of infection.”