By Cheryl Sullenger
New York City, NY – What could the famous and wealthy comedienne Joan Rivers have in common with a poor urban black woman from Cleveland, Ohio?
Both suffered avoidable deaths during outpatient surgical procedures that share the same unusual cause of death: “anoxic encephalopathy” as the result of complications to a medical procedure. Anoxic encephalopathy refers to brain damage suffered as a result of oxygen deprivation.
Yesterday, a New York medical examiner released the cause of death ruling for Rivers, 81, who went into cardiac arrest after a throat biopsy and stopped breathing on August 28, 2014. She was rushed to a hospital and declared dead on September 4.
Wilson, 22, suffered cardiac arrest and stopped breathing after an abortion in her 20th week of pregnancy at Preterm abortion clinic in Cleveland on March 21, 2014. She was transported to Case University Medical Center, where she was placed on life support and pronounced dead on March 28.
According to a USA Today article about River’s cause of death, “The death was classified as a complication of a medical procedure. The classification is not commonly used; more deaths are certified as homicides, suicides or natural causes.”
But there is a stark difference in the way the two similar deaths have been handled. The “medical complication” ruling was used to excuse physician culpability in Wilson’s death while River’s doctors remain not only under a cloud of suspicion, but active investigations.
Because of River’s fame and popularity, the public demands that those accountable for River’s tragic death be held accountable and the authorities are more than ready to comply.
Wilson’s abortionists, on the other hand, who are believed to be Lisa Perierra and Mohammed Rezaee, were quickly cleared of wrong-doing by the Ohio Medical Board – ironically just days after River’s death. An investigation by the Ohio Department of Health appears to have stalled and Cuyahoga County District Attorney Timothy McGinty has been reluctant to get involved.
“We don’t want to think that Lakisha’s race and social status as a poor urban woman of color has anything to do with the disparity in the way these very similar death investigations are being handled, but that appears to be the case. Add to it that Lakisha died during a late-term abortion, and it becomes clear that racial and political biases are allowing her death to be swept under the rug,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “In America, we are supposed to have equal protection under the law — except apparently when you happen to be a black woman at an abortion clinic. Then, killing you is not a problem.”
Operation Rescue uncovered Wilson’s death after obtaining 911 records that indicated Wilson was “not breathing at all” for about a half hour before she was transported to the hospital. A Computer Aided Dispatch Transcript noted “Patient Death” was involved. Operation Rescue then joined with state and national pro-life leaders in calling for a full investigation into Wilson’s death.
Operation Rescue continues to call on District Attorney McGinty and the Ohio Department of Health to hold those accountable for Wilson’s avoidable death accountable and give her the same consideration and justice that is being extended in the Rivers case.
“When abortionists get away with killing women during abortions, it only fosters conditions that continue to place the lives of women at risk. We simply cannot afford to ignore abortion-related maternal deaths and pretend justice has been done. Certainly no one would stand for a cover-up in the River’s death. We cannot tolerate a cover-up in Lakisha’s death, either, if we truly believe that all of us are created equal and deserve equal justice under the law,” said Newman.
Operation Rescue is urging the public to contact Cuyahoga County District Attorney Timothy McGinty and demand that he order a full, impartial investigation into Lakisha Wilson’s suspicious abortion-related death.
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