Safe & Legal--In Maryland
"SAFE & LEGAL" ---- IN MARYLAND
by James A. Miller
"We Care About You!," proclaimed the Yellow Pages ads for the Hillview Women's Medical Surgical Center, an abortion mill located in Suitland, Maryland, some fifteen miles east of downtown Washington, D.C. Another Hillview phone book ad offered prospective patients coupons good for "25% Off Gynecological Care on initial visit."
Hillview was quite well known throughout Maryland and surrounding environs as a place to go for late term abortions. Indeed, a substantial percentage of business came from Baltimore women, who traveled some 50 miles seeking late abortions. Although advertising "Abortions Up to 24 Weeks," Hillview actually performed saline abortions into the 30th week, or even later. A former Hillview employee, a nurse's aide who worked at the mill for two months in the naive belief that she would be involved only in non-abortion gynecological care, told this writer of seeing three aborted babies, estimated weights ranging from one to three pounds, twitching in sink basins.
Late term abortions carried a sliding scale of fees ranging from $2,135 for a twenty-one week abortion to $3,000 or more for those in the third trimester. Early abortions cost $195, and Visa and Mastercard were accepted.
Hillview routinely enticed as many patients as possible into undergoing abortion while fully anesthetized. This was done for no other reason than to inflate the price of an abortion--with a $150 anesthesia charge an early abortion now cost a minimum of $345. More than half of the patients were thus inveigled into accepting anesthesia. Unbeknownst to these women, Hillview "had no personnel trained in the use of general anesthetic agents ... and lacked basic monitoring equipment (to assess a patient's condition, so) the level of monitoring of the patient while she was unconscious was completely inadequate." Moreover, Hillview's "personnel were not properly trained to carry out emergency resuscitation, (and) the clinic lacked basic supplies for resuscitation."
Hillview was run by Barbara Lofton, who jointly owned the business with her husband, Benjamin. According to the Washington Post,
"Lofton estimated that the clinic perform(ed) 100 abortions a week." Although she possessed no medical degree whatever, Barbara Lofton held herself out to the mill's patients as a doctor, and wore a white doctor's gown with an expensive looking stethoscope dangling from the upper pocket. She often approached patients who were slated for anesthesia, and told them not to worry, she was going to do the abortion personally. The patient, unconscious, would never know the truth. Mrs. Lofton insisted upon being called "Doctor Lofton" by all clinic personnel, some of whom, under the circumstances, actually thought she was a medical doctor.
The Loftons had literally been chased out of Washington, D.C., where they had previously operated an unlicensed abortion clinic. They were charged with false Medicaid billings and allowing unqualified help to administer medicine. Additionally, Barbara Lofton was found to be misrepresenting her medical credentials, including false resumes claiming doctoral degrees in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and Catholic University. Neither institution has any record of Lofton attending, much less being awarded a doctorate. But no worry for the Loftons--the "Free State" of Maryland, where anything and everything is tolerated when it comes to abortion, was just a proverbial stone's throw away. And thus the Loftons opened their new mill in Suitland, Maryland, in mid-1987. (If FOCA, the so-called Freedom of Choice for Abortion bill, becomes law, every state may be as welcomingEd.)
The Susanne Logan Case
On 9 September, 1989, a 26-year old woman named Susanne Rene Logan, came to Hillview to end her 13-week pregnancy. She was given an intravenous dose of Brevital and rendered unconscious. Not only was there no staff anesthesiologist, nor anyone else trained and qualified in general anesthetic agents; there was no monitoring equipment at the mill. No records were ever kept regarding the dosage of anesthesia used for any of the patients. Thus the dosage received by Ms. Logan is unknown. Indeed, the identity of the person who administered the Brevital to Logan has never been fully ascertained--the case not yet having come to trial--although it appears that Barbara Lofton, impersonating a physician, was the agent.
In any event, "a nurse employed by Hillview, who did not have an active license in Maryland, entered the procedure room and found Susanne Logan unconscious ... (and) without examining the patient, she informed Dr. Gideon Kioko that the patient was 'ready'. Kioko (who) had never seen Susanne Logan before, proceeded to begin the abortion without performing any physical examination of (her)."
Unfortunately, Susanne was suffering respiratory depression, a well-known effect of Brevital, due to an excessive dosage of the drug. This problem went undetected until the attending, unlicensed nurse happened to notice that Logan's lips had turned blue, at which point she alerted abortionist Kioko and summoned other clinic employees. "Dr. Kioko continued the abortion procedure and did nothing to help revive the patient."
Susanne had started "having trouble" about 4:10 p.m. and a call was first made to emergency number 911 at 4:18. When emergency fire and rescue personnel arrived at about 4:20 p.m., they found utter chaos at the mill. Not only were the employees "very confused and did not seem to know what they were doing," but in 'attempting to put an oxygen mask and bag on the patient ... they were putting the mask on upside down, and the patient was not receiving any external oxygen."
At that time Susanne Logan "had been without effective oxygenation for 14 minutes and was clinically dead. She was cyanotic with dilated pupils, pulseless, limp, (and) without breathing. The only sign of life was some cardiac electrical activity." Through the heroic efforts of the rescue squad, blood pressure was returned some 12 minutes later and Susanne was taken to a nearby hospital where she required total intensive care support, including respirator, feeding tube and a tracheotomy.
At this writing, Susanne Logan is a quadriplegic, totally unable to care for herself. Although some brain function has returned, Susanne suffered irreparable damage and functions intellectually at the level of a first or second grade child, at best. A medical report entered into the record states that "her prognosis is bleak." She is unable to speak but communicates via a computer keyboard, which she can depress with one finger. Her days are taken up in watching television and sometimes playing children's board games. Monopoly is one of her favorites.
Susanne now resides at a rehabilitative nursing home in Baltimore, and the total cost to date of her care is about $750,000. The cost of her lifetime needs is estimated at $15 million.
Previous Death at Hillview
Two months prior to Logan's unfortunate experience, Debra M. Gray, a 34- year old woman, went into cardiac arrest at Hillview while undergoing an abortion in her 16th week of pregnancy. As in the Logan case, Gray had been rendered unconscious with no record of the drug or the dosage. Conflicting stories were given as to who had administered the fatal anesthetic. After three days of no discernible brain activity, Gray was disconnected from her life support systems. Her autopsy, conducted by the Chief Medical Examiner's Office of the State of Maryland, reported the manner of death as "Undetermined" and the cause of death as "Unknown."
Despite Gray's death and a host of violations, Hillview was not inspected by Maryland officials, since the state has no laws whatever regulating abortion clinics.
Although the state does have some power over individual physicians, two years would elapse before Dr. Kioko would come under scrutiny. Thus the stage was set for Susanne Logan's tragedy.
Prince George's County emergency rescue workers became very familiar with Hillview, as they "rushed women to area hospitals with problems including hemorrhaging, shock, breathing trouble and cardiac arrest."
Dr. Gideon Kioko is also a defendant in two other Hillview cases currently before the Maryland Health Claims Arbitration Office. Kioko broke with the Loftons a few months after the Logan affair, and was hired in February 1990 by another notorious abortion mill, the CYGMA Health Center in Kensington, Maryland. He was later named its medical director.
Faced with Logan's $15 million malpractice suit, and at long last under active investigation by the State, Kioko voluntarily surrendered his Maryland medical license in December 1991. Moving back to D.C., Kioko operates out of an office in the Southwest section of the city. It is unclear if he is still doing abortions.
The Loftons, after making themselves judgment-proof by hiding or transferring assets, closed their Maryland mill and fled the scene in the middle of the night. They are apparently hiding somewhere in Alabama, leaving their attorney and poor Susanne Logan to fend for themselves.
1. Personal communication, taped, of former Hillview employee, who shall remain anonymous at this time.
2. The "Washington Post," 13 August, 1990, pp. A1, 6; malpractice case HCA 90-141, Maryland Health Claims Arbitration Office, quotes from Document # 93-D, Report of Qualified Expert.
3. Note 1, above.
4. "Wash. Post," above.
5. HCA 90-141, Document #95-B, Amended Claim of 29 April, 1991.
8. HCA 90-141, Affidavits of responding emergency personnel, unnumbered documents .
9. HCA 90-141, Document # 1-C, Statement of Claim.
10. Autopsy Report No. 89-1873, (Debra Gray). See also HLI Reports, Vol. 10, No. 1, January 1992 for a discussion of the Gray case and two other 1989 Maryland abortion death cases.
11. The "Washington Post," above.
12. The "Evening Sun" (Baltimore, Md.), December 19, 1991, pp. B1, 6.