SUMMARY: Michelle Madden, age 18, died November 24, 1986 after an abortion performed by O. B. Evans at Family Planning Medical Center in Mobile, AL.


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Michelle Madden

Eighteen year old Michelle Marie Madden, a freshman at Mobile College, sought a safe and legal abortion from O.B. Evans at Family Planning Medical Center of Mobile, Alabama. It was performed on November 18, 1986. Michelle had been taking medication for epilepsy, and according to the friend who had accompanied Michelle to the abortion facility, a doctor had told her that her baby would have birth defects.

That very day, Michelle's parents were preparing to go to Mississippi to spend Thanksgiving with Mrs. Madden's brother. They got a call from Michelle's roommate telling them that their daughter was sick.

"We didn't think anything of it. We told her we were going to come the next day to pick her up," Michelle's mother told the Mobile Press Register.

But before they could leave the house the next day, the house mother at the dorm called, asking if Michelle had gynecological problems. Again, the parents weren't particularly concerned.

When they arrived at the dorm, they were told that Michelle was in the hospital. "We called the hospital and they said she was in surgery."

When they operated on Michelle, doctors found a leg bone, two pieces of skull, and some placenta still in Michelle's uterus. The surgery to save her life was too late. Sepsishad already set in, and Michelle died November 24, three days after she was admitted.

They waited an hour at the hospital until the doctor finally came to them and told them that Michelle had undergone an abortion. Her parents hadn't even known that Michelle was pregnant.

"From what he told me at that point," said Mrs. Madden, a nurse, "I knew that for her to live would be a miracle, on the order of the Lord raising Lazarus from the dead. She was in such bad shape I didn't see how she could make it."

Michelle remained on life support until dying on November 24.

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Michelle's parents
Her parents sued Evans and the facility, and in 1991 a jury awarded them $10 million in damages.


Evans appealed on the grounds that this would "devastate him financially", because his malpractice insurance would only cover $1 million. During the appeal, the parties agreed to settle for $5 million, with the insurance company paying the entire amount. Evans then sued his insurance company for not having settled with the family for $1 million prior to the trial, thus subjecting him to "emotional distress, humiliation, damage to his reputation, and loss of business" -- such "emotional distress", he asserted, was "so severe that no reasonable person could be expected to endure it."

Interesting, that the lawsuit, and not the needless death of an 18-year-old girl who had trusted him, is what caused Evans such emotional distress. Of course, he had nobody to sue for that other than himself.

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Sources:
  • "Lawsuit is filed against abortion clinic," Mobile Press Register 6/6/91,
  • "Parents Finally get to tell daughter's story," Mobile Press Register, 6/16/91;
  • FindLaw, Evans vs. Mutual Assurance
  • A Friend to the End? (This story purports to be about how Michelle went with a friend for the fatal abortion.


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