Gosnell Jury Hears more about death of Karnamaya Mongar

By Dave Andrusko

Kermit Gosnell's defense attorney Jack McMahon

Kermit Gosnell’s defense attorney Jack McMahon

Beginning on Monday, the prosecution in the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell has returned to the 2009 death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar who died from what prosecutors say was an overdose of sedatives and narcotics administered by Gosnell’s untrained staff.

Earlier today, a fiery dispute broke out in court, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, over the proposed testimony of toxicologist Timothy Rohrig. Gosnell’s flamboyant attorney, Jack McMahon, objected vigorously to Rohrig interpreting the amount of Demerol (a powerful sedative) found in Mongar’s body.

McMahon contended “that scientific literature says there is no reliable way to estimate earlier drug levels based on blood samples taken after death,” according to reporter Joseph A. Slobodzian.

“The verbal sparring between McMahon and Assistant District Attorneys Edward Cameron and Joanne Pescatore evolved into one between McMahon and Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart that got so loud the veteran judge ordered McMahon to sit down.” Because there was back and forth over what McMahon wanted (called a “Daubert hearing”) to address the issue of Rohrig’s testimony, the jury was not in the courtroom.

On Monday, the jury heard from Lt. Don Burgess, a Philadelphia fire lieutenant, who testified about what happened when firefighters answered a 911 call at past ll:00 pm at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic.

“We were perplexed when we responded to a clinic,” Burgess testified. “What kind of clinic is open this late at night?”

They were led to where they found Mrs. Mongar unconscious with her feet in stirrups. According to Slobodzian, Burgess testified that both Gosnell and a female worker were there “but neither was doing anything, and there was no sign emergency resuscitation had been tried.”

“’The doctor was confused,’  Burgess said, responding to questions from Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron. ‘I asked him what happened, and he blurted out something I couldn’t understand.’

“’I’ve got to tell the family what happened,’ Gosnell said, according to Burgess. ‘I’m going to bring the family back here to tell them what happened.’

“Burgess said he vetoed that idea as his paramedics continued working on the unresponsive woman.”

Mrs. Mongar died at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

On Monday the jury at Philadelphia Common Pleas Court also heard a description of the conditions inside Gosnell’s abortion clinic provided by state Health Department nurse. Elinor Barsony accompanied a federal-state task force that raided the clinic as part of a drug investigation testified  the night of February 18, 2010.

Slobodzian reported

“Burgess told the jury that the clinic hallways – carved out of three or four buildings – were so narrow it was impossible to use a stretcher to take Mongar to the hospital.

“An emergency door was a few steps from the procedure room, Burgess said, but it was chained and padlocked, and neither Gosnell nor his staff had the key.

“Burgess said he ordered firefighters to open the door with a bolt-cutter. Mongar later died at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. …

“Barsony said she was asked along to assess the condition of any patients they found. She said she found five women in a recovery room, though none had yet had abortions.

“One was sedated and sleeping, two others were chatting, and two were moaning loudly complaining of cramps and pain.

Barsony said that the women were not connected to devices measuring their vital signs and that just one employee was there.

“The clinic equipment seemed old and dirty, and Barsony said she questioned whether it worked.

“Ultimately, Barsony ordered two of the women taken to a hospital. But like the evening of Mongar’s death two years earlier, Barsony said the emergency door was chained and locked.”

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