She died in my arms. Her blood splattered my white, starched uniform, seeping deeper than the uniform, permeating my body, my soul, my memory. She wouldn't, couldn't answer with what instrument she had inserted, mutilated. Perhaps the proverbial coat hanger? The only history obtainable was that she had been "dumped" just outside the ER at the Los Angeles County Hospital, much too late for any medical help. Chunks of paper-thin bone, macerated tissue protruded from her vagina amidst profuse hemorrhage. Barely audible, her last words were, "Someone's gotta pick up my little girl at school...." The racing pulse became slower... and stopped.
Ten years before this night, I too had been young and in terrible trouble. It was before I had even entertained the idea of becoming a physician. I resorted to the only alternative women then had, the equivalent of a "back-alley abortion." In this instance it was an