Grand Jury Report: “Gosnell operated his clinic with complete disregard for Pennsylvania laws that regulate abortion clinics, health care facilities, and the practice of medicine”

By Dave Andrusko

Abortionist Kermit Gosnell

Abortionist Kermit Gosnell

Monday begins week two of the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. It will be difficult to find much that is more outrageous than was testified to last week. Unfortunately, as high [low] as that bar is, testimony justifying why he is charged with eight counts of murder promises to be even more shocking as the trial proceeds.

As we did last week, NRL News Today will run a separate story later in the day summarizing what happened in court.

Monday’s excerpts from the 261-page Grand Jury report documents how Gosnell cavalierly ignored virtually every law and regulation regarding the operation of an abortion clinic. On Tuesday, we will run excerpts from the report that attest to Gosnell’s routine practice of aborting children well past Pennsylvania’s limit of 24 weeks.

Gosnell operated his clinic with complete disregard for Pennsylvania laws that regulate abortion clinics, health care facilities, and the practice of medicine. Gosnell flagrantly violated virtually every regulation and law Pennsylvania has relating to the operation of abortion facilities. He did not comply with the basic standards of his profession. Nor did he follow state regulations pertaining to health care facilities generally.

Gosnell violated Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act in many ways. He failed to counsel patients, despite a requirement to provide counseling at least 24 hours before abortions. He performed abortions on minors without a parent’s consent or a court order. He failed to take steps to ascertain accurate gestational ages and he intentionally falsified gestational ages. He did not report to the state Department of Health any of the second- and third-trimester abortions that he performed. Nor did he comply with the Act’s requirement to send tissue from late-term abortions to a pathologist to verify that fetuses were not viable or born alive.

Many of Gosnell’s violations directly endangered women and caused them serious harm. His contempt for laws designed to protect patients’ safety resulted in the death of Karnamaya Mongar. For example, although Pennsylvania’s abortion regulations, 28 Pa. Code §29.31 et seq., require abortion providers to have functional resuscitation equipment and drugs “ready for use,” Gosnell had no such provisions. The clinic’s one defibrillator, the device used to help revive cardiac arrest patients, had not worked for years. There was only one suction source – the one Gosnell used for the abortion procedures – and no equipment to assist with breathing. And on February 18, 2010, three months after Karnamaya Mongar had died of an overdose of anesthesia, there was no “crash cart” with the drugs necessary to reverse the effects of just such overdoses. Had any of these items been present in the clinic, as the law requires, Mrs. Mongar might be alive. …

Gosnell’s failure to equip his clinic with functioning monitoring and resuscitation instruments was all the more dangerous because of his use of unlicensed workers to perform crucial jobs. State abortion regulations require that women in the recovery room be “supervised constantly” by a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse under the direction of a registered nurse or a physician. From 2006 until the clinic closed in 2010, Gosnell’s recovery room was often supervised – and not constantly, because she had several other duties – by a high school student, Ashley Baldwin. The state Department of Health documents that, as far back as 1989, Gosnell had no registered or licensed nurses to staff the clinic’s recovery room.

The complete disregard for patient care was evident in every aspect of Gosnell’s practice. The staff routinely discharged patients before they were fully alert or could even walk. Tina Baldwin described how staff members would discharge still-medicated patients when closing time came:

A: Oh, I did see some people, they were so drugged. I mean you had to get them out, take them with a wheel chair –take them out in a wheelchair.

Q: And you would just send them on their merry way out the door?

A: If it got late, at the time when I was working there, if it got too late like 1:00, 2:00 in the morning and they had a family member, yeah they would go out. …

Another violation of Pennsylvania law proved significant the night Karnamaya Mongar died: Clinics must have doors, elevators, and other passages adequate to allow stretcher-borne patients to be carried to a street-level exit. Gosnell’s clinic, with its narrow, twisted passageways, could not accommodate a stretcher at all. And his emergency street-level access was bolted with no accessible key. Any chance Mongar had of being revived was hampered by the time wasted looking for keys to the door.

Ashley Baldwin testified:

Q: How long was – were the paramedics on-site?

A: A long time, because I couldn’t get the key to the lock.

Q: What happened? Tell the members of the jury what happened.

A: Doc told me to get the keys to the locks, but it was like six sets of locks with thirty keys on each one.

Tomorrow: Gosnell routinely performed abortions past Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit. … Steven Massof estimated that in 40 percent of the second-trimester abortions performed by Gosnell, the fetuses were beyond 24 weeks gestational age.