By Dave Andrusko
Tuesday is the second day of the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. We will update you in a separate story during the course of the day. Gosnell stands accused of eight counts of murder—seven counts of first degree murder for allegedly aborting viable unborn babies alive and then slitting their necks; and one count of third degree murder in the case of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old refugee woman.
NRL News Today is reprinting installments of the 261-page Grand Jury report which formed the basis for indicting Gosnell. Today’s excerpt focuses on the deplorable conditions of Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic—dried blood and urine and flea-infested cats roaming the office–and how it escaped inspection for most of its existence.
The Women’s Medical Society was filthy and totally unsuitable as a medical office or a surgical facility.
The Grand Jury toured the facility at 3801 Lancaster Avenue. It is unbelievable to us that the Pennsylvania Department of Health approved this building as an abortion facility. We were stunned to learn that, between 1978 and 1993, the department sporadically inspected and approved the clinic, and then never inspected it again until February 2010, when health department employees entered the facility at the request of law enforcement officials who were investigating allegations of the illegal sale of drugs and prescriptions.
The physical layout of the clinic, a confusing maze of narrow hallways and multiple twisting stairways, should have been an obvious bar to its use for surgical procedures. The three-story structure, created by joining two buildings, had no elevator. Access from procedure rooms to the outside by wheelchair or stretcher was impossible, as was evident the night Karnamaya Mongar died. According to former staff members, the facility had been substantially cleaned up by the time the Grand Jury visited it. Between late February 2010, when the practice was closed, and our tour of the clinic in August, significant efforts had been made to make the facility look and smell cleaner.
Despite such efforts, it remained a wretched, filthy space. The walls appeared to be urine-splattered. The procedure tables were old and one had a ripped plastic cover. Suction tubing, which was used for abortion procedures – and doubled as the only available suction source for resuscitation – was corroded. A large, dirty fish tank stood in the waiting room, filled with turtles and fish. The dirt-floored basement was stuffed with patient files, plants, junk, and boxes of un-disposed-of medical waste. The entire facility smelled foul.
These were the conditions after the facility had been shut down and cleaned.
Former employees, including Latosha Lewis and Kareema Cross, testified to the abhorrent conditions when the clinic was operating. They described the odor that struck one immediately upon entering – a mix of smells emanating from the cloudy fish tank where the turtles were fed crushed clams and baby formula; and from boxes of medical waste that sat around for weeks at a time, leaking blood, whenever Gosnell failed to pay the bill to the disposal company. They described blood-splattered floors, and blood-stained chairs in which patients waited for and then recovered from abortions. Even the stirrups on the procedure table were often caked with dried blood that was not cleaned off between procedures. There were cat feces and hair throughout the facility, including in the two procedure rooms. Gosnell, they said, kept two cats at the facility (until one died) and let them roam freely.
The cats not only defecated everywhere, they were infested with fleas. They slept on beds in the facility when patients were not using them.
Kareema Cross testified about the procedure rooms: “The rooms were dirty.
Blood everywhere. Dust everywhere. Nothing was clean.” The bathrooms, according to Lewis, were cleaned just once a week despite the fact that patients were vomiting in the sinks and delivering babies in the toilets.
Large procedure room, showing soiled table Medical waste and fetal remains were supposed to be picked up weekly by a licensed disposal provider. Gosnell, however, did not pay his bills in a timely manner, and the disposal provider would not pick up – sometimes for months. In the interim, and as the search team discovered during the February 18 raid, freezers at the clinic were full of discarded fetuses, and medical waste was piled up in the basement.
Fetal remains in the freezer
Sometimes, according to Tina Baldwin, fetal remains were left out overnight. “You knew about it the next day when you opened the door … Because you could smell it as soon as you opened the door.” According to a plan that Gosnell filed with the Philadelphia Health Department in 2004, waste was to be stored in the basement for once-a-week pickup by a waste disposal company. But he didn’t follow the plan. He failed to pay his bills. Weeks went by without a pickup, and the containers in the basement leaked.