Grand Jury Report on Abortionist Kermit Gosnell Charges that local physicians had shirked their professional and legal responsibilities

By Dave Andrusko

A photo of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, accused of eight counts of murder, next to his Women's Medical Society abortion clinic.

Each time there has been (or about to be an impending) legal move, however slight, it affords media outlets a chance to look back again at what  a Grand Jury called abortionist (and accused murderer) Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors.” There have been a couple of administrative details worked out before Philadelphia area judges, and, perhaps as a result, the Associated Press ran a story over the weekend headlined, “Jury: Philly docs failed to report dangerous peer.”

A caption under a file photo of Gosnell very aptly summarized much of the story. “This undated photo released by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office shows Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Women went to Gosnell to end their pregnancies. Many came away with life-threatening infections and punctured organs; some still had fetal parts inside them when they arrived at nearby hospitals in dire need of emergency care. Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which operates two hospitals within a mile of Gosnell’s squalid abortion clinic in West Philadelphia, saw at least six of these patients _ two of whom died. But they largely failed in their legal and ethical duties to report their peer’s incompetence, according to a grand jury report.”

Yes, indeed, as we have shown in any number of the excerpts from the Grand Jury report that we have run on an almost daily basis.

Kathy Matheson’s story reminds us that the Grand Jury harshly criticized the University of Pennsylvania Health System, writing, “”We are very troubled that almost all of the doctors who treated these women routinely failed to report a fellow physician who was so obviously endangering his patients.” What even faithful readers of the excerpts may have missed is that the health system did make a feeble attempt at defending itself.

It issued a statement saying that it had “provided reports to the authorities regarding patients of Dr. Gosnell who sought additional care at our hospitals” starting in 1999. So what were these “additional reports”?

Turns out to be one—“22-year-old Semika Shaw, who died at the university hospital of internal bleeding and sepsis after a botched abortion in 2000,” Matheson reports. “Gosnell’s insurers ultimately paid out a $900,000 settlement in that case.”

According to Matheson, “health system spokeswoman Susan Phillips later clarified the statement, saying ‘we have staff who specifically recall making oral reports’ to state officials about Gosnell.”

The story is very much worth reading (www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/09/2158957/jury-philly-docs-failed-to-report.html). So in addition to running a relevant excerpt from the Grand Jury report, let me highlight just one other consideration to put the importance of the AP story in context.

Most accounts correctly discussed what Matheson labeled the Grand Jury’s “scathing criticism for Pennsylvania’s health and medical regulators for taking no action against Gosnell, despite reports that he was harming patients.” What didn’t get the attention it should have is that “the panel also said too many local physicians had shirked their professional and legal responsibilities to report him and thus protect the lives of future clinic patients.”

I mention that simply because there a massive breakdown at all levels and as a result two women are dead and likely hundreds of viable babies aborted alive whose spinal cords Gosnell alleged slit. He is charged with the death of only one woman and seven babies, because almost all the records are missing.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about more of some of what came out in the AP story over the weekend.

I would appreciate your help by way of  feedback on National Right to Life News Today. Please send your comments to daveandrusko@gmail.com. If you like, join those who are following me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/daveha

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