Susanne Rene Logan, a waitress who received a multimillion-dollar settlement last month for catastrophic brain injuries resulting from an abortion procedure at a Prince George's County clinic, died of pneumonia yesterday at Maryland General Hospital.
Ms. Logan, who was 35, lost the ability to walk, speak, swallow and control many bodily functions and had severe memory lapses as a result of a lack of oxygen during the abortion performed Sept. 9, 1989, under general anesthesia administered by uncertified personnel.
The Logan case was publicized nationally on the CBS television program "60 Minutes" and locally in newspapers. And during the last days of the recent referendum campaign over Maryland's new abortion law, the Vote kNOw Coalition, leading the fight against the measure, ran television commercials showing Ms. Logan in a wheelchair.
The coalition contended that women's safety would remain unprotected in abortion clinics under the new law. Voters, however, approved the measure, which for the first time gives the state health department authority to regulate clinics.
Three weeks ago, a lawsuit filed against the now-defunct Hillview Women's Medical Surgical Center in Suitland, the Washington-based gynecologist who was performing the abortion and three other defendants involved in the case, was settled nearly on the eve of trial for $2.68 million in cash and monthly payments of $9,883 for the remainder of Ms. Logan's life.
James G. Kolb, a Rockville attorney representing the family, said that with Ms. Logan's death, her heirs -- her divorced parents, Anna and Robin Logan, who live in Visalia, Calif. -- will receive monthly payments for the next 10 years totaling about $800,000. Legal and medical expenses reduced the cash payment to the family by about 50 percent, he said.
Ms. Logan was a native of Visalia who moved in 1988 to the Forestville area of Prince George's County.
After the anesthesia accident -- a reaction to the intravenous drug Brevital that caused her throat to tighten and cut off oxygen to her brain -- Ms. Logan was in a coma for four months. Almost entirely paralyzed, she was left with the ability to move her arms only to the height of her head and was able to communicate only by using a keyboard.
She had been under continuous care in hospitals and nursing homes.
With the lawsuit settlement, plans were being made to move Ms. Logan from a nursing home in Baltimore, where her care had been subsidized by the state, to a private facility near her parents in Visalia later this month.
Instead, she will be buried in Visalia, her lawyer said.