Can There Still be Justice for Lakisha Wilson?

By Cheryl Sullenger

Cleveland, Ohio – Lakisha Wilson, a beautiful 22-year old African American woman, died three years ago from a fatally botched abortion she obtained at the Preterm abortion facility in Cleveland, Ohio.

What was done to her by Preterm staff is worth retelling on this anniversary of her death.

I found out about Wilson when I was tipped that an ambulance had been called to Preterm on March 21, 2014. As usual, I asked my assistant to order the 911 records. At Operation Rescue, we request so many 911 records based on similar tips that it has become somewhat routine – so much so that when the records arrived, my assistant did not even bother to listen to the recording before forwarding it to me.

When I played it, I was stunned. “It sounds like this patient died,” I hollered down the hallway to my assistant.

That began a fact-finding frenzy where we learned more of Wilson’s deadly encounter with Preterm and its abortionist at that time, Lisa Perriera. I flew to Cleveland and participated in a press conference with other state and national pro-life leaders. We demanded justice. We demanded answers.

Little did I know how those answers would come.

Sometime after that frenzy calmed down, I received an oversized manila envelope from the Ohio Department of Health. Inside was simply a CD with my last name hand-printed on it.

I popped the CD into my computer and was once again stunned by what I saw. Someone had leaked to me all the records – public and “confidential” – that detailed the Department of Health’s investigation into Wilson’s death.

Because of that information, along with the autopsy report and other documents we had assembled, I was able to build the following narrative about her abortion and the investigation that followed.

Wilson reported to Preterm on March 21, 2014, for a second trimester abortion with abortionist Lisa Perriera. The autopsy, which relied on Preterm’s records, showed that she was 19 weeks pregnant at the time of her abortion, but other records contained on that mysterious CD indicated she was actually closer to 23 weeks. Perhaps because of her advanced pregnancy, Wilson suffered blood loss during the abortion and went into shock. Her life-threatening condition was not immediately detected, most likely due to failure to properly monitor her vital signs.

Preterm staff administered medication to Wilson to cause uterine contractions in an apparent effort to control the hemorrhage, but it appeared to be too little, too late.

Depressed respiration caused by sedation may have contributed to the lack of oxygen Wilson’s body received. This only compounded the medical crisis. As a result, Wilson suffered cardiopulmonary arrest and subsequent fatal brain damage all before a Preterm employee finally was told to call 911 for help.

The 911 recording and Computer Aided Dispatch transcript revealed that Wilson was “not breathing at all” at the time the call was placed. In fact, emergency records show that she was not breathing for at least 28 minutes.

When paramedics finally arrived, they were delayed in getting to Wilson due to a malfunctioning elevator. Since all the surgical rooms at Preterm are on the third floor, the elevator is the crucial to patient safety during emergencies such as the one Wilson was suffering.

Once they were finally able to get the elevator working well enough to get them to the third floor, paramedics removed the ill-fitting pediatric oxygen mask that abortionist Perriera had been using and replaced it with a mask of the proper size and fit. They were able to resuscitate Wilson – something the abortion facility staff was unable to do.

However, paramedics could not intubate her, which was necessary to ensure that she was receiving enough oxygen. This was because the elevator was so cramped that they could not lay the gurney flat, which was required for intubation.

Once downstairs, paramedics rushed Wilson out of the building and to an awaiting ambulance, a chaotic moment that was recorded by Pastor Dale Henkel, a pro-life activist who was on the sidewalk praying that day.

So frantic were the paramedics to get her to the ambulance that they never bothered to completely cover her naked body.

Wilson was rushed to University Hospital Case Medical Center, where she was placed on complete life support until an organ procurement company could obtain the documentation needed to harvest her organs. This was callously done against the wishes of the Wilson family, who were concerned that missing organs would compromise any potential investigation. Wilson was officially declared dead on March 28, 2014, leaving her one-year old son motherless.

So what were the consequences for Perriera and Preterm for their obviously negligent treatment of Lakisha Wilson?

Nothing at all.

We may have gotten answers, but there was never any justice for Lakisha Wilson and her family.

The Ohio Department of Health conducted an inspection of Preterm, and cleared them despite their dangerous set up that included third-floor surgical rooms, with gurney access only through a cramped and frequently malfunctioning elevator.

The Ohio Medical Board investigated Perriera and her staff, but despite clear indications of a janky fetal age determination, a hemorrhage that went undetected due negligent monitoring, inadequate resuscitation efforts, and a delay in calling 911 for help, they too were “cleared,” based partially on the coroner’s determination of “accidental death.”

Once the Department of Health files were leaked to me that showed many important deficiencies in Wilson’s treatment, which had been overlooked or dismissed by investigators, our coalition of pro-life groups called for the Department of Health to reconsider the seriousness of those deficiencies and how they contributed to Wilson’s demise.

But they ignored that, too. It was regulatory failure at its worst.

Meanwhile, Perriera was given an award by the Physicians for Reproductive Choice at a posh ceremonial New York City dinner in 2015, for enduring “adversity” during the investigation of Wilson’s tragically avoidable death. She transferred to an abortion facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – a place that never heard of Lakisha Wilson – where she continues to abort babies and place women’s lives at risk, all while publicly advocating for abortion as a “safe” procedure. She also serves as Associate Professor of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Sidney Kimmel Medical Center at Thomas Jefferson University.

Instead of being held accountable for her series of fatal errors that deprived Wilson of her life, Perriera was basically promoted.

Three years later, the sting of this injustice has yet to subside. On the third anniversary of Lakisha Wilson’s death, I still remember, and haven’t given up hope that someday, somehow, there can still be justice.

Leaked Ohio Department of Health files concerning Wilson’s death

Perforated Uterus Led to Death of Michigan Planned Parenthood Abortion Patient


By Cheryl Sullenger

Kalamazoo, MI – The death of a young mother, Cree Erwin-Sheppard, just three days after receiving a surgical abortion at a Planned Parenthood facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has turned into a mystery worthy of the fictional Sherlock Holmes. Questions of why she died and who was responsible remain covered up under heavy redactions in her recently released autopsy report.

After a delay of over eight months, the Calhoun County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report is filled with strategic redactions that obscure the most pertinent parts of the report, including most of the cause of death determination.

In fact, just reading the redacted autopsy report, submitted by Elizabeth A. Douglas, MD, one would never know that an abortion was involved, much less Planned Parenthood.

While important information in the autopsy report was blacked out to remove any mention of an abortion, the toxicology reports noting trace amounts of Methadone and other pain/anti-convulsant drugs was left completely unredacted.

“It is my opinion that there is an effort on the part of the Calhoun County Medical Examiner’s office to protect Planned Parenthood while wrongly blaming Erwin-Sheppard for her own death,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “The way the autopsy report is censored, it falsely leads one to believe that unprescribed drugs caused her death, while the fact that her uterus was perforated is completely expunged from the record. Planned Parenthood corruption appears to have infiltrated the Medical Examiner’s office.”

If it was not for other bits of documentation obtained by Operation Rescue and its team, the cause of Cree Erwin-Sheppard’s death would be a complete mystery.

First, Operation Rescue obtained an unfilled prescription slip that was provided to Erwin-Sheppard by abortionist Laura Castleman at Planned Parenthood in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on June 30, 2016, the day of her abortion. That script directly placed Erwin-Sheppard at Planned Parenthood.

Operation Rescue partnered with long-time Michigan pro-life activist Lynn Mills to get to the bottom of what really caused the death of this young mother. Mills obtained Erwin-Sheppard’s unredacted death certificate that shows the full cause of death, much of which was omitted from the autopsy report. Yet, even that document contributes its own mysteries.

The manner of Erwin-Sheppard’s death was listed as “Accident,” although that does not rule out negligence. The determination of “Accidental” death is the default setting for coroners who examine abortion death cases. Most never look further into conditions and practices at the abortion facilities that may have contributed to the death.

[Redactions to this document were done by Operation Rescue.]

Cree Erwin Sheppard Amended DC v2_Redacted by Cheryl Sullenger on Scribd

The cause of death listed on Cree Erwin-Sheppard’s amended death certificate is as follows:

Complications of intrauterine pregnancy, including pulmonary emboli related to uterine vein thrombosis and uterine perforation status post early vacuum aspiration and intrauterine contraceptive device placement.

The autopsy report noted the only area of vein clotting in Erwin-Sheppard’s body was found in the uterine vein. This lends itself to the conclusion that trauma to the vein caused the clots, which later broke away and traveled to her lungs.

The only source of trauma or injury in Cree’s body was the uterine perforation, which could well have resulted in damage to her uterine vein.

Uterine perforation is a common complication to surgical abortion and is a known complication to IUD placement. However, the death certificate curiously notes that the perforation somehow happened after the suction aspiration abortion and IUD placement at some unknown place and time.

To further muddy the waters, in Box 41c of the death certificate, the medical examiner is asked to “Describe how the injury occurred.” The puzzling answer? “Use of unprescribed drugs.”

“That answer is completely ridiculous,” said Newman. “Drugs don’t cause the uterus to put a hole in itself. It’s hard to believe this is the best the medical examiner could come up with after eight months.”

The death certificate also contains other inconsistencies. Methadone use is noted in a box that asks for “Other significant conditions contributing to death but not resulting in the underlying cause given in Part 1.”

If the methadone did not result in the underlying cause of death, why is it listed as the “injury” that led to Erwin-Sheppard’s death?

Based on the information available at this time, it is logical to reach the following conclusions:

1. Cree Erwin-Sheppard received a surgical suction aspiration abortion on June 30, 2016, at Planned Parenthood in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
2. During that abortion or subsequent IUD insertion, her uterus was perforated and her uterine artery was injured.
3. On July 2, suffering from intense abdominal pain, Erwin-Sheppard was taken by her mother to Bronson Battle Creek Hospital’s emergency room, according to a police report. There, Cree was supposedly given pain medication and told to see her family physician the next day.
4. In so much pain that she was afraid to go home, Erwin-Sheppard was taken to her mother’s house and put to bed. She slept through the day.
5. While at her mother’s home and desperate to ease the pain, Cree somehow accessed a dose of methadone.
6. In the early morning hours of July 4, 2016, Erwin-Sheppard’s mother found her daughter dead in her bed.
7. An autopsy was performed by Elizabeth A. Douglas, MD, on July 4, 2016 at 8:25 a.m. A uterine perforation was discovered. Blood clots were found in her uterine artery and lungs, which caused her death. Blood and urine was sent for toxicology screening.
8. When the autopsy was finally released on March 9, 2017, all mention of the abortion, uterine perforation, and IUD insertion were redacted along with the salient portions of the cause of death while other sensitive information was left intact.

“This autopsy report and inconsistent entries in the death certificate just don’t pass the smell test,” said Newman. “It is more than a little suspicious that the one that benefits from the cover up of information is Planned Parenthood. Politics and personal ideology have no place in the investigation of Cree’s death. A full and honest investigation must be conducted by the Michigan medical board to determine who is responsible for this abortion-related death before tragedy strikes another Planned Parenthood patient.”

This is a mystery that deserves to be solved for the sake of other women who may seek services at Planned Parenthood’s Kalamazoo office. Operation Rescue will continue to seek transparency and justice on behalf of Cree Erwin-Sheppard and her family until those responsible for her needless death are brought to justice.

[All redactions in this document were done by the Calhoun County Medical Examiner’s Office.]

Erwin-Sheppard Autopsy Report – Redacted by Medical Examiner by Cheryl Sullenger on Scribd

Watch: Life or Death Reasons to Defund Planned Parenthood

By Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, DC – As Congress prepares to vote on legislation that would halt tax payments to Planned Parenthood, a new video showing the urgent need to defund America’s largest abortion provider has been released by Operation Rescue.

The video shows 18 ambulances that have responded to Planned Parenthood abortion facilities over the past year to transport patients suffering medical emergencies to local emergency rooms. It also contains a clip from a tragic 911 call involving a patient death, along with documentation that the woman’s fatal abortion took place at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Michigan.

The medical emergencies show serious, life-threatening abortion complications, including hemorrhage, severe pain, and seizures.

“We understand that the incidents shown in the video represent just a fraction of life-threatening abortion complications that women experience because of Planned Parenthood,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “If they want to maim and kill women along with their babies — something the majority of Americans find abhorrent — it certainly shouldn’t be done with the blessing of our hard-earned tax dollars.”

Planned Parenthood receives over $500 million a year in government funding. Operation Rescue supports a Republican plan to reallocate that amount to women’s health programs that do not supply abortions, so no one will go without necessary health care.

A vote on defunding Planned Parenthood is expected very soon, perhaps as early as next week.

Operation Rescue urges pro-life supporters to contact their Congressmen and Senators immediately and tell them to #DefundPlanned Parenthood as soon as possible.

Contact your Congressman.
Contact your Senators.