Ximena’s odessy with Vancouver General Hospital began on Dec. 16, 1985, the day she was born. After attempting an abortion at a free-standing mill in Bellingham, Wash. Ximena’s birth mother entered VGH, where she gave birth. According to court documents, staff delivered the child into a «hat»–a plastic pot–and then senior nurse Vera Wood whisked her away. Ximena was placed in a room «where dead fetuses were stored,» even though she was «moving, gasping, (and) crying weakly.»
Court documents say Wood checked back some 26 minutes later, to find the child still alive. A nursing supervisor was called and arrived almost an hour after Ximena’s birth. She found the child still in the «hat,» uncovered, on a stainless-steel counter. By the time the Infant Transport Team arrived, Ximena had suffered a severe loss of heat, which in turn caused extensive and permanent brain damage.
Ximena’s adoptive family eventually sued VGH for $10 million. Hospital officials petitioned to have the case heard before a judge only, but the B.C. Supreme Court ruled it would be best heard before a jury. In June of this year, facing the prospect of a public trial, the hospital settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money. All family members will say is that Ximena will be well taken care of.
Meanwhile, pro-life activists are calling for criminal charges to be laid. B.C.’s pro-abortion Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh initially balked at the idea of investigating, but then instructed his criminal justice branch to contact Vancouver police. As of press time, no announcement had been made on whether further action will be taken. The B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons have claimed the incident is out of their jurisdiction.
VGH continues to face heat over the case. Pro-lifers are now handing out literature outside the hospital, warning women of the events surrounding Ximena’s birth. Some pro-lifers are suggesting VGH’s recent request for a no-protest «bubble zone» around the facility is an attempt to cover up the case and hide it from patients and possible donors.
But it seems unlikely officials will be able to put a lid on the story, since it may have happened before. A May 30, 1986 Vancouver Sun article quotes nurse Kathryn Larouche, who spent a year working in the VGH ward where abortions were committed. Larouche stated she saw three infants «die after they were delivered live.»
«We were supposed to turn the other way,» Larouche said. «We weren’t supposed to do anything. There were a couple of people … I don’t want to say who. They told us, ‘Don’t do anything. Leave it alone. It will die.'» The events left such emotional scars, Larouche eventually resigned. Five other nurses left with her.
VGH officials insist that, according to their records, there has been no other case where a «viable» infant was born and allowed to die. They have not provided an explanation of what «viable» means.