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 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
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?

  • Nate

    The more I read about Tiller the more I see how evil he really is. How can anyone with any concience at all perform an abortion on a girl who was developementally disabled? I’ve volunteered with the Special Olympics and they are such loving people, and then to have Tiller kill one of them is a shame. To have Tiller kill anyone (born or unborn) is a real shame and tragedy. How can anyone keep voting for the Governor who keeps him from getting put behinds bars for malpractice and killing women and their babies? Don’t the people of Kansas have any common sense to vote her out of office? And the people who keep supporting Tiller like he was a hero is astonishing to me, (then again some people looked at Hitler like a hero too, and we all know what he did).


  • A girl who needed help

    When I had my abortion at Tiller’s (mine was when I was also about 28 weeks), he made all of the girls in my group (me included) sign a form saying that if we had ANY complications at all, that we were under NO circumstances to go to the emergency room or hospital.We were instucted to only call him.That is more than likely the reason Christen’s family didn’t take her to the hospital.I know now that he was not legally allowed to do that.I feel so bad for Christen & her family.Tiller is a vile human being.

  • lime5

    Wow! The above testimonial is certainly a healthy gust of fresh air compared with some of the self-justifying Tiller propaganda that has occasionally pockmarked this comment board in times past. We wonder if Tiller has, or will acquire in the foreseeable future, the testicular fortitude to post THIS one on his wall, for all the world to see, as he repents before Almighty God.

    Silly question…but hope springs eternal.

    Speaking of Hitler, though, in the previous to previous post, here’s an account to put Tiller and his atrocities in yet more accurate historical perspective. . .

    “…Do you treat, care for, and help a sick or disabled person, or do you kill him? Do you measure the value of a person’s life in money? Or in utilitarian usefulness? THE COST TO SOCIETY TO CARE FOR ALL THE PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY HANDICAPPED AMONG US IS BUT A TINY FRACTION OF THE COST TO SOCIETY FOR THE MORALLY DEFORMED AMONG US. Professor Jerome Lejeune, discoverer of the chromosomal pattern of Down’s syndrome once related to us a story he had heard from a geneticist colleague which illustrates this well:

    “Many years ago, my father was a Jewish physician in Braunau, Austria. On one particular day, two babies had been delivered by one of his colleagues. One was a fine, healthy boy with a strong cry. His parents were extremely proud and happy. The other was a little girl, but her parents were extremely sad, for she was a Mongoloid baby. I followed them both for almost fifty years. The girl grew up, living at home, and was finally destined to be the one who nursed her mother through a very long and lingering illness after a stroke. I do not remember her name. I do, however, remember the boy’s name. He died in a bunker in Berlin. His name was Adolf Hitler.”…

    — Dr. & Mrs. J.C. Willke, “Why Can’t We Love Them Both” (an excellent book of abortion-related information which can be read online at

    All the best!

  • A girl who needed help

    One of the things that really struck me when I walked into Tiller’s waiting room & down the hallway was all of the letters from “satisfied” customers.He also has binders full of letters praising him & his services that he encourages you to look through as you wait to speak to him.
    What I want to know is why Christen wasn’t given any antibiotics.During my procedure, he gave me no anesthesia or painkillers, but he pumped me full of antibiotics.I think he did it on purpose.

  • Thanks for the update. I’ve blogged on this and will update my page at my site. May I use your pictures on my site? I link to them on my blog (displayed with a link to your photos).

    Y’all do such a great job keeping atop Tiller! God bless!

  • Joey

    This makes me sick, this is a sad sad world. That poor girl intrusted her parents, and they failed her. Why didn’t they just let her have the baby and have a loving family adopt it. Now they lost their grandchild and child, how selfish of them and of Tiller, the Anti-christ himself.

  • This story makes me both angry and heartbroken. I just read it tonight after getting mail from CRA and I am grieved all over again as I try to imagine the burden that right now, millions of women like myself are carrying because those who should be protecting them are instead abusing them, and/or protecting only themselves. What makes me even more angry than that this happened is that it all gets suppressed; I’m so sick of abortion-minded voices trying to paint themselves as being “pro-woman” when it is clear as day they are NOT looking out for these women’s best interests! How they could send her back the hotel (!!!) to deliver a dead child is beyond explanation, much less waiting until the last moments for an ambulance and then ordering no lights or sirens. All they care about is image, and they feed their reprehensible lies to so many girls, but after they get on the other side of this issue and realize what has been done to them, who from that clinic is there to offer any real evidence of care?? I’d like to hear if there are even a handful of stories showing anything like that. Everytime I hear of someone sharing her abortion story, there is nothing to be said of the people at the clinic actually caring for them. Doesn’t exactly sound like they’re all that passionate about women’s needs for security and importance. And so many of those spreading the lie are women; I tend to wonder if they stay neck deep to avoid facing their own past. Its just so unjust, so vile, the who thing, and what breaks my heart and makes me want to scream is that none of this needs to be! I hate that so many are having the priceless and irreplacable ripped from them by lies fed to them, exploiting their fear a/o misconceptions. I want to use my life to somehow help stop this– it is injustice, plain and clear!

  • Mike

    I have known or know several individuals with Down’s Syndrome, and the only effect they have on others is one of happiness. It is tragic that one so loving should die such a horrific death; and that one so innocent, her unborn child, should be pierced through the heart. Senator Brownback noted, during the Judge Roberts hearings, that 80% to 90% of the unborn with DS never get a chance to live. Down’s Syndrome may be an imperfection, and a slight one at that, yet all are imperfect in far greater ways. Far be it from any one to cast a stone at one so innocent.

  • unknowngirl

    Down’s syndrome’s baby have a higher probability of being a down’s syndrome too. Think about it this way, trisomy 21, no matter how fertilized egg split, there should be at least 50% of chance to have an offspring with down’s syndrome. So basically, down’s syndrome patients should have infertility problems to prevent them from having offsprings. This girl was unlucky enough to get raped and then pregnant. However, I don’t think her sexual organs and other organs have been fully developed to take neither the abortion surgery nor the full term birth. Considering her conditions, she would have a much higher chance of dying of full term birth if she had not chosen to abort.

  • A girl who needed help

    that is absolutely untrue.tiller had the nerve to tell me & the other girls in my group that having our late term abortions were 40x safer than actual childbirth.that is a complete lie!i have cervical scarring from his repeated insertions of laminaria to dilate my cervix (unnaturally. for his “safe” procedure) as well as cervical incompetence that required me to have a cerclage (a stitch that keeps your cervix from dilating) put in to carry my current pregnancy to term.
    had christen seen an actual ob/gyn for prenatal care, that doctor could have made the proper evaluations on her ability to deliver a child vaginally.if she could not have done it vaginally, they could have given her a c-section (very common for high risk deliveries).
    the fact that christen had downs syndrome does not in any way condone what tiller did to her (and what he continues to do to countless women).

  • Zack Martin

    Um, Ok.

    Well, I’m glad all of you can have un-bias opinions on the subject. Sadly, I don’t have that advantage.

    I knew Miss Gilbert.

    I have only recently heard this news, about her death. After my freshman year in high school, I moved from Texas to Georgia. Never saw her again – however, upon a recent visit, I learned what happened. I still have a have a picture of Christina that she gave me at Special Olympics 03′. (I was a student volunteer)

    She was also in my P.E. class, where she’d constantly bug me about random things. I always thought it was cute, and – let me tell you – she does give wonderful hugs.

    To sum this up, It’s sad to see somebody go like this, but its even worse when you knew them.
    I dont know why I even typed this up, I dont know what im expecting to get out of it.

    I just wish the best of luck to her family.

  • Icyfyeress

    She was 28-weeks, there for the child was viable. She was going to give birth either, why not at least give birth a living baby. Why did the baby have to be murdered, when he/she was so close to being born? they could have given the baby away. Saving both lives. I believe god punished her family. They took for granted the new life he gave them, and in return he took his gift back from them. No ungood goes unpunished. He is the hand to choose, not us. Maybe they will learn that life is special, no matter how they were brought into this world.

  • srfrider73

    icy, how can you even say or think something as mean as GOD punished her family?
    are you HIM? no.
    she was innocent in all that happened to her.
    even though well never know why 1. her parents didnt goa fter the animal who raped her
    2. why they waited so long to make her abort(which is evil enough, that they had to know the pain she would go thru)
    3. why they wouldtake her to that evil person tillerin the first place
    you still cant say what you did.
    if we all, including you were punished for all the evil we have done and just thought about none of us would be here.
    and if that was true about GOD taking her away then that means HE would have donw the same to me.
    i was intimidated to abORT AT 16

  • kelanon

    I’ve had so many thoughts about what happened to Christin since I heard about it over a year ago. I’d known her since she was a baby. I’ve watched her grow up. I never thought that she was properly taken care of and I now certainly wonder how she was unsupervised long enough to have sex. No doubt about it, she was probably not brutally raped by a stranger in the park, she was unsupervised with someone who took advantage of her. It had happened before when she was unsupervised and it was bound to happen again, when she was not properly supervised. She was not capable of taking care of her monthly feminine needs without help from an adult, so her parents had to know that she was not having her period. Why would her mom take her to a planned parenthood in Dallas when she noticed a pooch in her tummy when she was getting into the bath. Why wouldn’t she take her to her family doctor instead? None of this adds up! Our town is sickened by the whole thing, her parents lied to us all when she died. They told us that she had a heart attack. None of us would have ever known from them what really happened. Our community embraced Christin and encouraged her in everything that she did. Her parents fit Chrisin in around their lives instead of fitting their lives around her. They took their vacation even after knowing that she was pregnant then drove her several states away to get an abortion that should never have been performed that late in the pregnancy. What was the danger to Christin? There is a longer waiting list to adopt babies with Down syndrome than for “normal” babies. Why didn’t they let Christin have the baby and then let one of those loving couples adopt the baby and know the joy of parenting. To most people, Christin and all people with Down syndrome are “imperfect” I believe they may be “more” perfect. They see the world with no prejudice, they love unconditionally, doesn’t that sound “perfect?” Her parents are as criminal as the abortion doctor who didn’t take care of Christin. Why didn’t her parents call 911 instead of the clinic. None of this adds up, but her parents as her guardians are very responsible not only for the abortion and her death but also for not supervising her properly and allowing her to be taken advantage of sexually. I don’t see how they show their faces in town, but they do. They lied to us all, they put Christin in peril, she died and we are all hurting for her! I hope that the long arm of the law grabs them and the doctors and all who were involved in the terrible things that happened to Christin. SAD in Keller.

  • Stop preaching!

    I am neither Pro-choice nor pro-life but am a human being that respects all living things. Its so aggravating to see all these conservative Christians surrounding Tiller’s office and not only harrassing him but his staff as well. Last time i checked only God had the right to judge, last time i checked you and I werent God, not even close. God would not want you taunt or hurt anyone in his name, the only people ive seen act “un-Godly” in this entire issue are the people protesting in the name of God. I find it absolutely repulsing to see vans and trucks parked outside of establishments where children and families patronize with pictures of mutilated fetuses, you people who exploit these pictures are the terrorist and you should be ashamed of yourselves. I can imagine how these images effect a child, i am 20 years old and i am absolutely apalled by these images. I recently found out that Catholic schools show a video of an abortion taking place and i think who ever permits a child to see these videos should be arrested, HOW DARE YOU people think that is an appropriate way to raise abortion awareness! I have met the Tiller’s on serveral occations and they are very respectable people. As i said before i am neither pro – life nor pro-choice. Live and Let Live! Leave the judging the to God.

  • Jessica

    Why would anyone wait so long to have an abortion? I don’t feel abortion is right at any time, but WHY WAIT so long into the pregnance????? For you girls who have waited so long, WHY did you let your baby get so big and viable, and then kill it? I just don’t understand WHY they wait so long?

  • Tasha

    Girls need to think about the consequences of getting pregnant before the have sex. i am 50/50 on abortion i think that under the right circustances it is right. like if you were raped are if having the baby is life threating for you and/or the child. those are the only circumstances i can see. i think that if you choose to have unprotected sex and you get pregnant than it is your responsibilty to take care of that child. to protect. love and charish your child. that baby is apart of who you are. now like i said i am 50/50 on this subject and under certain circumstances i can see where it would be approperiate.

  • Okay, for all you fence riders, I want to make a point to you. Life is life whether it is born or pre-born. The heart is beating before most mothers know they are pregnant. The definition of abortion itself is “to terminate.” Terminate what if not a life. As Christians, we cannot stand by and do nothing about this act of murder, legal or not. I don’t condone bombing clinics or terrorizing the familes of the people who work there. However, they are still wrong. Killing a child in the womb is the same as killing a child on the street or anywhere else. We wouldn’t stand for it after it’s born, why do we tolerate it before it’s born? There is NO medical reason to abort. NONE! People who say that are just looking for justification. And please, define mental illness. I would think abortion would be more mentally distressing than carrying the child to term and then either raising it (quite fulfilling) or giving it to someone who will. The mental illness card is played in society WAY too much. Also, if you believe it’s a life, there’s no reason to abort a child no matter how it was conceived. How it got here is irrelevant. If a woman is raped, and then becomes pregnant, aborting the child will not change the fact that she was raped. The abortion would be a reminder just as much as having the child would be. Now, about birth defects. Bloggers talk about only God having the right to judge. This is true. But, we are to be faithful. That is our job. We are to trust God. If a child has an abnormalty (please define normal in this world), then God is either entrusting us with the child or He will not let it be here. Not one person is ever conceived by accident. It is God’s design. We should trust! There is a reason for all people. If we cannot judge (which we can’t) then we shouldn’t “choose” whether or not a person has a right to live or not. To you fence riders, get off the fence and become a voice for the millions of unborn children. Abortion is an industry. It’s not done to protect women and families. It’s MONEY!!!!!! Abortion is expensive. Women pay the money then pay emotionally forever. We also need to be a shoulder for anyone struggling after having an abortion. They need us too. I believe we should fight the current laws, educate the women in our lives so that none would ever seek an abortion (who cares about the law if nobody ever gets one?), and pray for God’s guidance always!