Poor Late-Term Abortion Practice and Cover-Up Blamed for Death

The family of 23-year-old Keisha M. Atkins filed a wrongful death lawsuit against abortion practitioner Curtis Boyd and the University of New Mexico (UNM). Ms. Atkins passed away during a late-term abortion procedure, in February 2017. The family alleges that death was due to an error during procedure and that this was covered up by UNM.

The Situation

That February, Ms. Atkins turned to Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO) for a 24-week abortion from late-term abortionist Curtis Boyd. She arrived on January 31, 2017, to begin the process of the abortion. February 3, she returned with difficulty breathing and a high fever. Due to the severity of this, she was rushed to the operating room to complete the abortion – delivering the stillborn fetus after a lethal injection. After this, she went into cardiac arrest. She was transferred to the UNM hospital, passing shortly after arrival.

The Defendants

The lawsuit lists the defendants as: Curtis Boyd, SWO, UNM (branches Health Systems, Health Sciences Center and Board of Regents), and Dr. Lauren Dvorscak (pathologist).

The Claim

The plaintiffs claim the SWO is in violation of the NM Unfair Trade Practices Act by asking Ms. Atkins to not contact or consult with any medical facility or health care provider other than the SWO clinic employees. The plaintiffs further claim Dr. Dvorscak assisted with disguising the true cause of Ms. Atkins’ death by stating in the autopsy report that cause of death was natural and due to pregnancy.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Michael Siebel, said “Keisha Atkins’ medical treatment was a series of negligence and malpractice which ultimately led to her untimely death-these actions were compounded by the fact that she was instructed to not seek emergency room care by Southwestern doctors.”

UNM’s Response

A UNM spokesperson stated the UNM hospital and providers maintain a high-quality standard of excellence for all New Mexicans, but that – due to litigation protocol – they are unable to make any comments regarding the allegations and will honor all obligations to protect patient privacy.

The NM Medical board is independently launching an investigation into Curtis Boyd and determined it necessary to conduct further review to determine if a violation of the Practice Act did, indeed, occur.