SUMMARY: Diane Watson, age 27, died August 29, 1987 after an abortion performed by Rudolph Moragne at Hedd Surgi-Center in Chicago, IL.

Diane Watson was 27 years old when she went to Hedd Surgi-Center in Chicago for a safe and legal abortion on August 29, 1987.

Although Diane was over 12 weeks pregnant, Rudolph Moragne proceeded with the abortion, in violation of state regulations prohibiting outpatient abortions after 12 weeks.

Diane had seizures and went into cardiac arrest at the clinic. Moragne and the other physicians present -- Henry Pimentel, Ester Pimentel, and Calvin Williams -- failed to perform CPR.

Diane's autopsy report attributed her death to "seizures due to anesthesia during an abortion," and made note of the recent pregnancy. Diane's death certificate, however, not only makes no mention of the abortion, but has the "no" box checked for whether or not the decedent had been pregnant during the previous three months.

Diane's family filed suit. A doctor reviewing the case said that Moragne and Hedd staff "deviated from the accepted standards of care [and] failed to appropriately and timely diagnose and treat intraoperative complications which resulted in her death."

Another abortion patient, Magnolia Reed Thomas, bled to death when Moragne failed to diagnose her ectopic pregnancy when she came to him at Hedd for a safe, legal abortion.


Source: Cook County Circuit Court Case No. 87 L 24404, death certificate no. 617011; postmortem report Case #575 August 1987