Donna Kay 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. Donna'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.




Twenty-two-year-old Liliana Cortez, an immigrant, underwent a safe and legal abortion by Leo Kenneally at his Her Medical Clinic in Los Angeles on September 20, 1986.
Other than having asthma, Liliana was in good health when she went for her abortion. After the procedure, she went into cardiac arrest.
There was a 40-minute delay until the paramedics arrived to transport Liliana to a hospital. She died five days later.
Liliana's death was ruled a "therapeutic misadventure," which a coroner's spokesman called, "a nice medical term for a mistake."
Other Deaths at
Her Medical Clinic:
Donna Heim
Michelle Thames
An attorney for Her Medical Clinic said, "If something like this happened at a hospital ... people would just say it was bad luck, one of those flukey things. But ... all of a sudden they make it seem like these (abortion clinics) are terrible places where terrible things happen."
Los Angeles Herald Examiner