23-year-old Stacy Ruckman died of an anaesthetic overdose given her by Missouri abortion provider Scott Barrett before he performed her abortion on February 20th 1988. State public health officials charged Barrett with gross negligence over Stacy's death. They said Barrett gave Stacy such a large dose of a local anaesthetic while prepping her for an abortion in his Springfield facility that she stopped breathing, went into cardiac arrest, and died.
Stacy wasn't the only woman on whom State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts official charged Barrett of performing negligent abortions. They said the St. Louis based Barrett perforated a woman's uterus in 1988, causing her to bleed severely. They said he failed to have her taken to a facility equipped to help her. Officials also accused Barrett of performing an incomplete abortion on a woman in 1989, she developed an infection as a result.
Barrett complained state officials were out to "eliminate" abortion providers like him. His lawyer filed a blanket denial of the State's charges against him.
Meanwhile, Stacy's parents sued Barrett over her death. They had an autopsy performed on Stacy; the autopsy report on Stacy showed the pathologist determined she died from an overdose (toxic level) of lidocaine anaesthetic. He said the overdose most likely caused Stacy to suffer a seizure, then cardiac arrest.
He said paramedics called to the facility discovered Stacy wasn't breathing and had no pulse; he said they had to suction "copious amounts of blood" from Stacy's airways, then took her to a hospital. Six hours after Barrett finished the abortion, the pathologist said, she was prounced dead.
The pathologist also noted Stacy's brain and lungs suffered edema (excess fluid presence).
He also found a "curettage defect" in Stacy's uterus, as well as clotted and unclotted blood in the uterus and cervix, and a small amount of deciduas (pregnancy tissue). In January 1991, a jury awarded Stacy's parents $25.3 million for her wrongful death.
Greene County Circuit Court Case No. CV188-675CC2) include the complaint, the autopsy report, and the docket sheets (which indicate the case's progress). Chicago Daily Law Bulletin : jury award, 29 January 1991