Cause of Death in Texas Teen: “Complications of Therapeutic Abortion”

Autopsy report reveals delay in care for fatal complications

WICHITA, KS — The autopsy report of a Texas teenager who died here last January reveals details of a horrific death caused by complications of a third-trimester abortion received at Women’s Health Care Services at the hands of the notorious George R. Tiller.

According to the ten-page document released August 24, 19-year old Christin A. Gilbert “died as a result of complication of a therapeutic abortion. Most likely the mechanism of death is sepsis.”

Sepsis is a systemic response to infection, which causes organ failure and death in severe cases. Sepsis causes coagulation of the blood in the infected areas resulting in very poor blood flow leading to organ failure. According to the web site sepsis.com early diagnosis and treatment is critical to the survivability of a patient with sepsis. However, documents obtained by Operation Rescue indicate that Gilbert’s condition was not diagnosed and treated promptly, contributing to her death.

Dr. Patrick Johnston reviewed the autopsy report for Operation Rescue. Dr. Johnston told OR, “The infection in the female organs precipitated clotting in the veins in that region, which used up all her platelets and clotting factors, and caused a constitutional clotting disorder (she bled and oozed from every orifice).”

Tragically, sometime in 2004, Gilbert, who had Down’s Syndrome, was sexually assaulted. As a result, Gilbert became pregnant. On January 10, 2005, Gilbert was brought by her family to Women’s Health Care Services for a third-trimester abortion in her 28th week of pregnancy. There her baby received a digoxin injection to the heart and she was prepared for labor and delivery of her dead child.

Gilbert was sent to her hotel. The following day, January 11, Gilbert was taken back to WHCS where the abortion was resumed and a D & C performed. She was again sent back to her hotel, which doubled as both labor and recovery room for Tiller’s abortion business. This hotel was not equipped to handle the life-threatening complications that may result from dangerous third-trimester abortions. There, Gilbert’s condition began to worsen.

She returned once again to WHCS on January 12, and was diagnosed with “dehydration” although the sepsis was already raging through her body. She was given intravenous fluids and sent back to her hotel.

By now, Gilbert was in serious trouble. She had episodes of vomiting and unconsciousness. According to Dr. Johnston, aspiration of vomitus was the likely cause of her acute bronchopneumonia mentioned in the autopsy report.

Instead of taking her to the hospital, Gilbert’s family once again took her to WHCS where, according to the autopsy report, “she became unresponsive.”

At 8:48 AM on Thursday, January 13, a 911 call was placed by Tiller employee Marguerite Reed, who was evasive with the dispatcher and placed him on hold for 45 critical seconds while she inquired about how much she should tell him. Reed pleaded with the 911 dispatcher, “Please, please, please! No lights, no sirens!” Reed clearly downplayed the true nature of Gilbert’s rapidly deteriorating condition. Sensing no urgency, emergency responders arrived on the scene at 8:57 AM, a full nine minutes after the call was placed.

Upon arrival, the ambulance crew spent 15 minutes treating Gilbert’s dire condition, which included cardiac arrest, from which she was resuscitated, and cessation of respiration. At 9:14 AM Gilbert was transported via ambulance with all haste to Wesley Medical Center’s Emergency Room, and arrived at 9:18 AM after a four minute ambulance ride. OR staffers photographed the ambulance and George Tiller’s arrival at the ER.

Once at Wesley Medical Center, the autopsy report showed evidence that the emergency team who treated Gilbert worked aggressively to save her life, but it was too late. Huge amounts of antibiotics were pumped into her failing body, but to no avail. Because the sepsis was not treated in time, Gilbert suffered from systemic organ failure, including brain swelling and failure of the liver, kidneys, and heart. Other organs showed signs of bruising from the sepsis including the heart, lung, esophagus, fallopian tubes, and vagina. All the blood vessels in her reproductive organs were clotted. She also had some bloody drainage in the intestines, which, according to Dr. Johnston, were due to her clotting disorder related to overwhelming sepsis.

As Gilbert’s condition continued to deteriorate the family made the decision to provide “comfort care” only to their daughter. She was given pain medication and was pronounced dead at 4:14 PM, January 13, 2005. Her eyes were donated for corneal transplant.

Gilbert’s unclothed body, with medical implements that had been used in an attempt to save her life still attached, was sent to the Sedgwick County Regional Science Center on January 14 for autopsy. Seven months and ten days later, the report was released to the public with evidence of her botched abortion.

Gilbert was buried in her hometown of Keller, Texas, where Gilbert had attended high school and served as the “bat girl” and inspiration for the championship girl’s softball team. Her obituary, carried in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, wrongly indicated that she had died of heart failure, a denial of the truth of Gilbert’s last few tortured days of life that she neither chose for herself nor deserved.

Christin was an innocent victim in every sense. Because she was Down’s Syndrome, she was not legally capable of making choices for herself. She was taken advantage of sexually by a predatory male who has yet to be brought to justice. When her pregnancy was discovered, she was taken for an abortion by her family. When she was found to have suffered complications from the abortion, she was not treated promptly.

Upon her death, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts has refused to discipline George Tiller, the abortionist responsible for her injuries. The Governor has taken steps to quiet the controversy involving Gilbert’s tragic demise, and the Kansas Legislature failed to override a veto on a bill that would have provided strict regulations that may have prevented Gilbert’s death. Tiller has taken action to block Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline from gaining access to medical records that may reveal more cases of misconduct like Gilbert’s.

Christin Gilbert lived and died at the mercy of others. Even now, forces are working to deny her final justice.

“Christin was raped in Texas and killed in Kansas, yet all the authorities can do is sanitize her autopsy report, block investigators, and refuse to discipline those involved in victimizing this innocent woman,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

“Operation Rescue, from Day 1, has worked hard to bring justice for Christin by publicizing her tragedy, working with the Kansas Legislature, and informing authorities of facts in the case uncovered by our investigators,” said Newman. “Now that the autopsy report has proved that our investigators have been correct about every fact we have uncovered, we pray the appropriate authorities will take swift action to bring Tiller to justice.”

Read Autopsy Report
Listen to 911 Call
View 911 Computer Aided Dispatch Transcript
View Photos

Background (Oldest to Newest):

Botched Abortion Victim from Tiller’s Late-Term Mill Rushed to Hospital Via Ambulance
“SHE’S DEAD!”
KSBHA Launches Investigation into Abortion Death
NEW PHOTOS Show Ambulance at Abortion Clinic
Press Release—Governor acknowledges death of abortion patient in Wichita
George Tiller Subpoenaed by Texas
New Documents Verify Abortion Death
“Anna’s Story” (True name is Christin)
Abortion Death Mystery: Was the Death in George Tiller’s Down’s Syndrome Patient Intentional?