A juror fainted yesterday as an attorney described how a doctor allegedly botched an abortion at a center run by planned parenthood crusader Bill Baird, then called a cab to send the bleeding 17-year- old to a hospital. Testimony before the 15-member Suffolk County Superior Court panel was temporarily delayed when the male juror, in his 20s, slumped forward as a defense attorney described the medical risks of abortion. The girl, according to the plaintiff's attorney, John Herlihy, suffered a punctured uterus and bladder and a lacerated cervix during the abortion because of medical incompetence and negligence. Herlihy said an operation to repair the damage required 13 pints of blood and may have left her unable to bear children. Herlihy said the young woman - referred to as Jane Doe in court documents, and who sat with her head bowed during opening arguments - reluctantly went to the clinic with her older sister in February 1980. She did not tell her boyfriend she was pregnant, the court was told. Dr. Don R. Jaffe, a head and neck specialist who worked part- time at the clinic, examined the girl and determined she was 10 to 12 weeks pregnant,Herlihy said. However, during the course of the procedure Jaffe discovered the girl was at least 17 weeks pregnant and required a second-trimester abortion - "a totally different thing altogether," he said. The girl began to bleed heavily and complained of severe pain, Herlihy said. Her sister, who was in the room during the abortion, said she was going to faint and went into the hallway, followed by Jaffe and nurse Margaret O'Neil, he said. Dr. Jaffe left the girl unattended while he called several local hospitals and Baird in New York City for advice and then returned to the room, Herlihy asserted. "She was bleeding. It was all over the place in the room," Herlihy said. "He then wrapped her up, walked her down two flights of stairs and then hailed a taxi." The girl was operated on at Brigham and Women's Hospital and spent one month recovering there, he said. The malpractice suit names the Bill Baird Center, which is a nonprofit abortion clinic founded by abortion advocate Baird, and Dr. Jaffe. Dr. Jaffe's attorney, Allan Taylor, said the girl was responsible because she lied to the doctor about when she got pregnant. "She provided inaccurate and false information about when she had her last menstrual period and when she thought she had conceived," he said. "Predicting a woman's gestation is not an exact science." Taylor said the girl had been warned about the risks of abortion, and when Jaffe wanted to stop the procedure after 15 minutes, she refused. "She said, If my family finds out about this, there will be all sorts of trouble,' " Taylor told the court. He said Dr. Jaffe sent the girl to the hospital in a taxi because he thought it would be faster than an ambulance. Taylor also said that the girl suffered "no severe damage because of the abortion."
Copyright Boston Globe Newspaper May 23, 1984